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Alleged livestock hoax duped Indonesian investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars

from ABC

There are concerns about the trade implications of an alleged livestock hoax that saw Indonesian investors pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for animals that didn’t exist.

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association’s Rob Gillam says the case has the potential to further damage Australia’s trade relationship with Indonesia, already strained by the 2011 temporary halt of live exports.

“In a trade that’s currently very fragile anything can cause a hiccup.”

The WA major fraud squad has charged a 49 year old man over a livestock hoax which duped Indonesian investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The man is accused of promising to export tens of thousands of head of cattle, but not a single animal left WA.

Grant Wynne from ABC news explained the details of the case on the Country Hour.

The arrest of the 49 year old in the Perth suburb of Thornlie was the culmination of more than 12 months of investigations, a paper trail which lead officers to the south west of WA and onwards to Indonesia.

It’s alleged the man was a consultant for a WA based livestock company which promised to supply beef and dairy cattle to the Indonesian market.

The deal would have cost investors there nearly $4 million.

Prospective money men even came to WA to be taken on a tour of feedlot and local abattoirs around the south west of the state.

Last month major fraud squad detectives flew to the Indonesian capital to take statements from seven Indonesian businessmen.

Det. Sgt Shane Giblett said “On this particular job we’ve worked closely with the Australian Tax Department. We’ve conducted multiple search warrants, we’ve seized boxes and boxes of paperwork.”

They also interviewed the Indonesian based director of the Australian company.

The 49 year old man has now been charged with 35 counts of stealing more than around $700,000.

Investigators said inquiries are continuing into other directors of the company.