Wheatley Pleads Guilty

Glenn Wheatley, manager of singer John Farnham, pleaded guilty July 6th to three charges relating to tax evasion in an Australian county court.

"It was something that I have regretted for a long, long time, and I am ashamed for what I have brought onto my family," he told the court. Judge Tim Wood said he reserved his decision on sentencing at the end of a six-hour hearing.

The court was told that Wheatley began dabbling in tax fraud after almost going bankrupt after the Pyramid insurance society collapsed and left him with huge debts for a nightclub development.

Between 1994 and 1995, he did not declare $256,410 earned from promoting Farnham’s "Talk of The Town" tour and funneled the money into Swiss trusts.

An associate at sports production and marketing firm IMG introduced him to Swiss accountant Philip Egglishaw, who helped him send $400,000 earned from promoting a 2003 boxing match between Kostya Tszyu and USA’s Jesse James Leija to Switzerland and access the money through credit cards, local media reported.

Wheatley is one of four high-profile people snared in Operation Wickenby, believed to be the biggest white collar criminal investigation in Australia.

Prosecutor Richard Maidment, urged the court to impose a maximum penalty of 10 years jail, saying Wheatley was a serial tax evader.

Wheatley lawyer Robert Richter QC attacked the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who offered not to push for a jail term if Wheatley cooperated.

The entrepreneur had agreed to be a star witness for other Operation Wickenby criminal trials and pay back the money, which he did last week. But the DPP allegedly reneged on its word a month later, Richter said, adding, "My client has been treated in a shabby and most duplicitous way by the DPP."