Andrew McManus, the Australian concert promoter who presented tours by Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, the Beach Boys, Mötley Crüe and many others, has pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice, an offense which carries a maximum sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
McManus entered his plea Tuesday (Aug. 23) in Sydney's Downing Centre, though the charges of participating in a criminal group and attempting to gain a financial advantage by deception have been dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The impresario, now aged 55, was taken into custody in Melbourne in September 2015 following a joint sting involving the FBI and local Melbourne police into alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.
McManus and three others had been under the microscope since police confiscated more than A$700,000 ($493,000) from a man at a Sydney hotel in 2011. The live music veteran later claimed that the money was to repay another man who he said had handed over cash as a deposit for a ZZ Top tour. He then claimed he needed it back to fund a Lenny Kravitz tour. “In essence, I delivered back 700 grand I now need to borrow it again,” he told police in 2012. “As quickly as possible.”
McManus, who has battled health problems in recent years, emphatically denied the allegations. He wrote in a post on Facebook in March: "I have never been bankrupt and I will fight these allegations until my last breath." He also blasted negative news stories against him as “libellous” and blamed the “Aussie thing" of bringing down "tall poppies”.
McManus will appear in court once more this Friday (Aug. 26) when his sentencing date will be fixed.
It’s a stunning turn of events for the high-profile entrepreneur who was recognized as one of Australia’s leading promoters and known for his big, brash personality and relationships with many of the world's leading bands.
And it’s not the first scandal involving McManus, a one-time manager of ARIA Hall fo Fame inducted rock band The Divinyls. In 2010, he got caught up in a salary cap scandal that threatened to bring down the National Rugby League’s Melbourne Storm franchise. McManus' company was alleged to have funneled illegal payments to players. He remarked in 2014 that the Australian Taxation Office had fined him A$120,000 ($84,000) per Storm player, a A$2.4 million ($1.6 million) punishment that contributed to the demise of his company, Andrew McManus Presents.
McManus’ new company One World Entertainment has a six-date Engelbert Humperdinck tour of New Zealand on the slate.