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Harts boss charged with fraud

The founder and executive chairman of financial services group Harts Australasia, Steve Hart, faces 11 tax-related fraud offences.

Friday, October 5th 2001, 6:17AM

The founder and executive chairman of financial services group Harts Australasia, Steve Hart, faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with 11 tax-related fraud offences yesterday.

According to a Harts spokesperson the court appearance follows a night spent in custody by Hart after he was arrested overnight following a Federal Police investigation.

Hart is charged with one count of organised fraud, one count of defrauding the Commonwealth and the Australian Taxation Office, six counts of forgery and three counts of false pretences.

At this morning’s hearing, the Brisbane court heard that Hart has been under investigation for four years, with his company placed into provisional liquidation earlier this week after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) applied to have the group wound up.

Hart has also surrendered his passport to his solicitors as surety he will not exit the country however his solictor, Peter Nolan told the court that if Hart was likely to leave the country he would have already done so.

Nolan also told the court Hart needed to be able to fly overseas to Hong Kong and New Zealand but would give two weeks notice to authorities and would provide a return airfare and tell them where he would be staying.

Outside the court, Nolan would not make further comments citing that Hart’s legal advisers had yet to receive a full outline of the charge. - Money Management

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