High-ranking Comanchero bikie Roberto
Morando has been hit with a $1.7 million tax bill after a major
investigation of his business affairs over the past eight years.
Mr Morando, who was almost killed when
ambushed by a gunman in 2015, has denied most of the claims by the
Australian Tax Office in a defence statement lodged with the Supreme
Court of Victoria.
The ATO assessment has been broken down
into almost $1.1 million in unpaid taxes and a further $653,000 in
In 2014, Fairfax Media revealed that
Morando was a shareholder of a security business employed at more
than a dozen gaming venues owned by supermarket giant Woolworths and
billionaire businessman Bruce Mathieson.
Mr Morando's former business Ultimate Crowd
Control was aligned with another security company Nitro Security Pty
Ltd, which was owned by Comanchero president Michael Murray before
it was placed into administration in 2010.
Security contracts for several ALH Group
hotels appear to have been transferred from Nitro Security to Mr
Morando's company when it was established in 2010.
The ATO investigation appears to focus on
the period between 2010 and 2014, when Mr Morando was a director or
shareholder of Ultimate Crowd Control, which was suspected by police
of employing gang members and laundering the proceeds of crime.
In 2015, the former champion body builder
was blasted in the torso by a gunman while on an evening walk near
his Narre Warren South home.
At the time of the shooting, Mr Morando was
on bail over charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice
after allegedly threatening to "cut open" an associate.
He was accused of allegedly pressuring
another man to "put his hand up" and take the blame for explosives
that were found during police raids.
Echo taskforce detectives are understood to
have examined if Mr Morando's shooting was a reprisal for an attack
on another security guard, Clay Auimatagi, who was wounded outside a
gym in Narre Warren South a month earlier.
The Supreme Court action against Mr Morando
is part of a co-ordinated law enforcement attack on the assets of
suspected gang bosses, including Comanchero's Mr Murray.
Mr Murray was issued with a tax assessment
of more than $9 million in 2014, which was based on unexplained
spending and claims that revenue from his tattoo, security and gym
businesses had been deliberately