15 March 2024

Former tax office employee sentenced to five years for corrupt conduct

| Andrew McLaughlin
Parramatta District Court

Wenfeng Wei was sentenced in the Parramatta District Court to five years with a two years and six months non-parole period. Photo: NSW Courts.

A former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) employee has been found guilty of corrupt conduct including accepting bribes from a taxpayer they were auditing, and has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

Wenfeng Wei was found to have received $150,000 in exchange for a reduction in a six million dollar personal and business tax debt for the principals of private security provider Asset Group Solutions (AGS) over a six-year period.

He was convicted on several contraventions of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, including accepting a bribe as a Commonwealth official, abuse of public office, and unauthorised access and disclosure of restricted data.

Mr Wei was charged in July 2022 along with the principals of AGS, and initially pleaded not guilty. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges at Sydney’s Parramatta District Court in July 2023, and was convicted on 12 March 2024.

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The five-year sentence includes a non-parole period of two years and six months.

His case stems from Operation Barker which is an ongoing joint investigation led by the former Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the ATO.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) took over Operation Barker and the ACLEI’s role in the operation after the latter was rolled into NACC last July.

Operation Barker was supported by the ATO, Australian Federal Police (AFP), New South Wales Police (NSWPF), the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

Original Article published by Andrew McLaughlin on Riotact.

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