Friday, 20 June 2008

Petroulias jailed for two years

Nicholas Petroulias accepted $41,000 in return for providing confidential ATO information.

Former assistant tax commissioner Nicholas Petroulias will spend at least two years in jail for corrupt conduct and unauthorised publication of documents, a NSW Supreme Court judge has ruled.

In December, a jury found Petroulias guilty of two offences - agreeing to receive money on an understanding that his role at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would be affected, and publishing documents without authorisation.

In passing sentence today, Justice Peter Johnson said Petroulias acted with "impropriety and deceit" while working in a position of trust.

"I'm satisfied that these are very close to the worst cases of crime of this type," Justice Johnson said.

Between 1997 and 1999, for the latter part of which period Petroulias was assistant tax commissioner, he accepted $41,000 in return for providing confidential ATO information.

Justice Johnson said that information was used by Petroulias and his private business partners to benefit their business.

"The information had been gathered by him to the benefit of him and his associates, to the detriment of their competitors," Justice Johnson said.

"A proper and impartial administration of the tax law is crucial to the operation of our federal government.

"By his crimes, the offender has ... damaged the public fabric of our community.

"The offender acted in this way for personal gain ... (a) clear conflict of interests between public duty and personal interest."

Justice Johnson sentenced Petroulias to a total of three years and two months in prison, with a non-parole period of two years.

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