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Australian yachtsman arrested in Bali for extradition.

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Monday 16 October 2000

Australian Yachtsman Arrested in Bali for Extradition Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, announced that the Indonesian authorities on Friday arrested an Australian citizen who is wanted for prosecution in Australia on a major tax fraud offence. The provisional arrest was made pending a formal request for extradition.

Ross William MacArthur is wanted in relation to activities in NSW associated with the sale of petroleum products. It is alleged that MacArthur, a director of a fuel trading business, dishonestly failed to pay the surcharge on fuel sold between February 1998 and May 1999. It is alleged that the Commonwealth was defrauded of $A7m in this process.

MacArthur left Australia in February this year on board his 14 metre yacht, the Meridian Passage, before the charge was laid. Since then, MacArthur is believed to have sailed to a number of destinations, including New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Efforts to secure his arrest were complicated by the fact that he was able to freely travel between the various countries on his personal yacht.

The investigators recently received information indicating that MacArthur was planning to take part in a yacht race north west of Australia, which was scheduled to include Bali as a check point. An urgent request for his arrest was forwarded to Indonesia through Interpol channels. The Indonesian authorities swiftly responded, detaining MacArthur and arranging to seize the vessel.

"The success of this operation involved the cooperation of a number of Australian agencies, including the Australian Taxation Office, the

Australian Federal Police, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General’s Department," said Senator Vanstone.

"It highlights the abilities of Australian law enforcement agencies in responding quickly and intelligently to criminal matters which have a transnational dimension, and underlines the Government’s continuing achievements in securing international cooperation in tackling corporate crime.

"I would also like to thank the Indonesian authorities for their prompt action in securing MacArthur’s arrest."

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