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Rebels put under the tax microscope

Rebels bikies

Rebels motorcycle gang members Source: The Daily Telegraph

MEMBERS of the Rebels bikie gang are being subjected to comprehensive tax audits as part of an intensive joint agency policing operation.

The tax department audits have been launched after "irregularities" were discovered during targeted investigations being conducted by a top-level national taskforce, codenamed Attero, that is being led by SA police.

While details of the SA gang members being targeted cannot be revealed because of confidentiality provisions, the audits are understood to be examining the assets accumulated by several members, income streams and the structure and financial operations of companies they are linked to.

Attero commander detective Superintendent John DeCandia, the head of SA's Crime Gangs Task Force, yesterday said its operations were resulting in detailed inquiries being "undertaken by other agencies beyond traditional law enforcement".


"The Rebels need to understand they are being looked at not just by detectives and police in uniforms, but from a number of external agencies," he said. "We are hoping this gives us a clearer picture of their business model ... Just like any other organised crime group, tackling the money and business activities will stifle their operations."

He said there were Rebels members across the country - including SA - who had not submitted tax returns in the past five years.

"Some members think it is fine not to comply with laws and pay their tax like everyone else has to," he said.

The Attero taskforce comprises police from all Australian jurisdictions, New Zealand, the Australian Crime Commission, the ATO, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Customs, Immigration and Citizenship and the Department for Human Services.

The ACC's coercive powers have been used during the operation. In the hearings gang members are summonsed to hearings and compelled to answer questions about their activities.

The Rebels are Australia's largest bikie gang, with more than 1200 members nationally. There are two chapters of the gang in SA - in Whyalla and at Ridgehaven in Adelaide's northern suburbs - with 46 known members.

Since Attero started last year, 510 members and associates have been arrested or reported for a variety of offences, resulting in around 700 charges. They have ranged from minor street offences to drug offences, and 50 firearms have been seized. In SA almost 50 members or associates have faced charges.

Supt DeCandia said while Attero had been successful in apprehending gang members for traditional offending, its emphasis has also been on "trying to understand the business model and trying to disrupt their actions".

He said there "was a high likelihood" the Attero model would be applied to other bikie gangs in future.


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