Andrew McManus Avoids Jail Over Suitcase Cash Claim

Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus escaped a jail sentence when he appeared at Sydney District Court March 31.  

Andrew McManus
Norm Oorloff / News Corp Australia
– Andrew McManus

McManus pleaded guilty in September to attempting to pervert the course of justice, relating to A$702,000 ($535,910) cash found in a suitcase in a room in a five-star Sydney hotel. This offense has a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.

Crown prosecutor Stephanie Lind had pushed for jail time. Judge Mark Williams formally sentenced the 55-year-old to 20 months, but referred him to a corrections order that would see him serve his sentence with community work.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the judge explained the lighter sentence was because McManus pleaded guilty immediately showed remorse and was unlikely to reoffend.

The saga of the suitcase cash began Aug. 11, 2011.

An anonymous tip alerted New South Wales police that the guest in Room 3026 of the Sydney Hilton had a gun. A raid in the room, booked by former racehorse trainer Sean Carolan, found no gun, but unexpectedly uncovered the cash.

Testimony in court, according to the Sydney Morning Heraldwas that in a meeting of associates, McManus would claim that the money was his. In return the owner of the cash would loan him $200,000 ($152,631) that he needed to fund a Lenny Kravitz tour.

NSW police worked with the FBI and linked it with what it claimed was an international drug and money laundering syndicate.

When McManus was interviewed by police in 2012, he claimed the $702,000 was his. He told them, “These are not the proceeds of crime, these are the proceeds of Andrew McManus. It’s my 700 large.” He would later say that the police interview took place during a turbulent period in his life.

His Andrew McManus Presents company was put into liquidation owing the Australian Tax Office A$2.4 million ($1.8 million). He was forced to sell off personal assets including a number of houses.

At the time, he claimed, he was severely depressed, using alcohol and drugs “just to get through the day” and had tried to commit suicide twice. In 2015 McManus was arrested along with a number of other men including solicitor Michael Croke and underworld figure Craig Haeusler.

However, charges of fraud and criminal participation against McManus were withdrawn, and changed to perverting the course of justice. The U.S. leader of the alleged syndicate, Owen “O-Dog” Hanson, was jailed for 20 years in January 2017.