Veteran Australian talent manager Glenn Wheatley was today jailed for two and a half years on charges of tax evasion. He has to serve a minimum of 15 months.
The Melbourne-based manager of John Farnham, who also guided the careers of international success stories Delta Goodrem and Little River Band, pleaded guilty to three Commonwealth charges earlier this month.
Wheatley admitted to not declaring income from Farnham’s 1994 “Talk Of The Town” tour and a 2003 boxing match between Australia’s Kostya Tszyu and the United States’ Jesse James Leija. He used a Swiss-based tax minimization scheme through which he could access funds through credit cards.
Wheatley’s legal term seemed stunned by the sentence. The Director of Public Prosecutions had earlier promised that he would not push for jail time if Wheatley cooperated in Australia’s largest investigation into tax fraud. Wheatley’s legal team indicated that they will appeal the length of the sentence.
Victorian County Court Judge Tim Wood said he understood that a failed business venture left Wheatley and his wife heavily in debt. But he would have imposed the maximum sentence of three years and nine months had he not cooperated.
Radio broadcaster and singer songwriter Mike Brady commented, “He’s lost a bit of credibility but he will overcome this.”
Bernie Balmer, chairman of the board of Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Victoria, said he was saddened by the sentence. “Someone with his managerial skills and promotional skills is going to be a loss to the fight game.”