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Concert promoter Andrew McManus pleads guilty over $702,000 cash in suitcase | One Herald
Home / Health / Concert promoter Andrew McManus pleads guilty over $702,000 cash in suitcase

Concert promoter Andrew McManus pleads guilty over $702,000 cash in suitcase


“What’s the name of that song – ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few’?” quipped controversial concert promoter Andrew McManus as his Melbourne silk Peter Morrissey ducked in and out of Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court negotiating a guilty plea on his behalf.

McManus, 55, has pleaded guilty to lying to police in relation to a mysterious suitcase containing $702,000 in cash which police seized from the Sydney’s upmarket Hilton Hotel in 2011.

Andrew McManus has pleaded guilty to lying to police.
Andrew McManus has pleaded guilty to lying to police.  Photo: Peter Rae

“It’s not the proceeds of crime, it’s the proceeds of Andrew McManus,” the Melbourne-based promoter told NSW police in an April 2012 interview. “It’s pretty obvious though. I gave someone 700 large, and you’ve found someone with 700 large. It’s my 700 large,” he told police at the time.

But four years later the man who brought acts such as Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Luciano Pavarotti and the Beach Boys to Australia faces a possible jail sentence.

On Tuesday afternoon McManus pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice. This offence attracts a maximum sentence of 14 years’ jail.

Previous charges of knowingly participating in a criminal group and attempting to gain a financial advantage by deception by claiming the cash was his were dropped.

On August 11, 2011, police received an anonymous tip-off that the occupant of room 3026 in the Hilton Hotel had a gun. The occupant, Sean Carolan, an ex racehorse trainer turned personal trainer, didn’t have a gun – but he did have a black suitcase containing $702,000, which the police seized.

Mr Carolan told police at the time that he was minding the money for his new business partner, Owen Hanson jnr, to prevent Mr Hanson blowing it at the casino. The pair owned a business Advanced Peptide Solutions.

Hanson, 33, was arrested in San Diego in September last year as part of a joint investigation by the FBI and NSW Police into international sports betting, drug and money laundering operations.

McManus, Sydney solicitor Michael Croke, and McManus’ long-time friend and associate, underworld figure Craig Haeusler, were arrested at the same time as Hanson.

The three Australians were charged in relation to their various efforts to get hold of the seized $702,000 in cash.

The saga of the suitcase full of cash had its origins in May 2011 when McManus was staying at the luxurious InterContinental hotel in Macquarie Street.

In his hotel room he had a number of plastic shopping bags crammed with $10,000 bundles of cash totalling $702,000.

Haeusler, who McManus told police was like a brother, emptied the bags into a suitcase, which he then gave to Mr Hanson, who was nicknamed “Dispose” by his Australian friends because of his propensity to constantly dispose of pre-paid mobile phones.

The suitcase of cash was then hidden by Mr Hanson in the ceiling of a rented apartment in Kent Street for three months. In August he handed the suitcase of cash to his personal trainer, Mr Carolan, who not long after had the police confiscate it.

Initially the police were told the money was Mr Hanson’s investment in Mr Carolan’s weight-loss company but later the story changed.

In 2012 McManus told the police that the cash was part of a business deal. Because of problems with the Australian Tax Office, McManus told police that he had arranged for a Mr Hanson, “a very good friend of a friend”, to pay US$700,000 to secure a ZZ tour but now McManus wanted it back to fund a Lenny Kravitz tour.

“In essence, I delivered back 700 grand I now need to borrow it again. As quickly as possible,” he said.

In the 2014 NSW Supreme Court case, in which the group unsuccessfully tried to force the police to return the funds, the court heard that the NSW police interviewed Mr Hanson by videolink from the Beverly Hills police station in Los Angeles. “Do you want me to tell you the, the full story of how basically this money was laundered?” Mr Hanson offered.

Mr Hanson’s slip of the tongue when he used the word “laundered” did not inspire confidence as to the legality of the funds.

In rejecting Mr Carolan’s claim to the money, Justice Richard Button said, “There is no satisfactory explanation why Mr Hanson would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the business concept of a personal trainer who resided in a foreign country and whom he had known for no more than several weeks.”

McManus will reappear in Sydney’s District Court on August 26 for a sentencing date to be fixed.

Mr Croke and Haeusler have waived their right to a committal hearing and will stand trial at a date yet to be fixed.

In 2010 McManus became embroiled in the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal after it was revealed that his company Andrew McManus Presents International was used to channel illegal payments to Storm players.

He was subsequently fined by the Australian Tax Office over the matter and in 2011, his former company Andrew McManus Presents was put into liquidation owing the tax office $2.4 million.

He was forced to sell his Toorak mansion, holiday homes in Byron Bay and Burleigh Heads, and a private fleet of luxury cars, including a Bentley, Mercedes and Range Rover.



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