– A Melbourne woman accused of laundering criminal proceeds on behalf of the Mokbel drug empire has been served with a $2.6 million tax bill by the Australian Taxation Office.
Irene Meletsis, 46, of Fitzroy, was served with a writ from deputy commissioner of taxation Robert Ravanello in February, after allegedly failing to pay income tax of $1.2 million between 2005 and 2012. The ATO claims she owes a further $1.4 million in penalties and interest.
Ms Meletsis’s husband, Tom Karas, 49, was issued with a $44 million tax bill in 2011 and had assets and bank accounts frozen by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The tax order is part of a sustained campaign by the ATO and Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce to target figures with underworld connections and vast unexplained wealth.
Last November, crane company owner and industrial mediator Mick Gatto received a $10 million assessment from the ATO, after a five-year investigation of his business dealings.
Mr Gatto, who is a former business associate of Mr Karas, has claimed his financial affairs were “squeaky clean” and has vowed to challenge the massive tax bill in court.
In April 2012, the ATO placed a freezing order against property, racehorses and luxury cars owned by Toby Khoury, the brother of Mr Gatto’s business partner John Khoury, who shared a La Trobe Street office with Mr Karas.
The ATO was unable to establish the source of $4 million deposited into Mr Khoury’s bank accounts between 2002 and 2009.
The latest ATO action follows police allegations that Ms Meletsis helped her husband launder money launder money on behalf of Horty Mokbel, a convicted drug dealer and brother of Tony Mokbel.
A 2007 affidavit filed by the Purana Taskforce alleged Mr Karas was linked to a “large-scale money laundering operation in an attempt to cover up the extent of monies derived from drug trafficking”.
Mr Karas used the name of a distant relative who lives in Greece to avoid tens of millions of dollars in income tax, according to a senior Tax Office investigator in Supreme Court documents.
Police had previously used proceeds-of-crime laws to seize a share portfolio and other assets from Mr Karas and Ms Meletsis, including $1 million from the sale of racehorse “Pillar of Hercules”, which was purchased by Horty Mokbel in 2006.
Ms Meletsis was also a co-owner of the Metro nightclub in Bourke Street before offloading it for $10 million in 2007.
Mr Karas would not comment when contacted by Fairfax Media – Cameron Houston


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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