Former Blue Chip boss Mark Bryers has been arrested by federal police in Australia following an investigation into a tax fraud and money-laundering ring.
The Age reported Bryers was one of six people arrested in New South Wales and Queensland, and said the New Zealander had been providing tax structuring advice to the syndicate.
Police have reportedly put restraining orders over a Sydney property owned by Bryers and his partner Catrina Bleicher, one of a dozen such freezing orders tied to the arrest of six individuals in New South Wales and Queensland.
Bryers was an infamous figure in New Zealand corporate history, after his Blue Chip empire collapsed in 2008 owing investors $84m. He was personally bankrupted a year later facing debts of $230m.
A Herald on Sunday investigation found during the peak of Blue Chip's operation he was a big-spender at an Auckland brothel.
Bryers escaped more serious sanctions from Blue Chip, but plead guilty to 34 financial reporting charges in 2010 and was fined $37,500 and ordered to complete 75 hours of community work.
He was discharged from bankruptcy restrictions in 2015, but banned from operating a company in New Zealand until 2022. Associate Judge Jeremy Doogue said at the time that although he considered Bryers a risk to the New Zealand public, he was not able to rule on his activities elsewhere.
A decade ago he relocated to Australia, and was involved with Northern Crest and Talos Accounting Group, both of which were subsequently liquidated.
The criminal network related to arrests is said by police to have spent A$17m on maintaining extravagant lifestyles that should have gone to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
The offending is alleged to have involved the use of offshore companies to launder the proceeds, and was broken open by an 18-month investigation by Australian Federal Police, the ATO and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission called Operation Bordelon.