The Vaucluse house owned by the men accused of Australia’s largest tax fraud, Adam Cranston and Jay Onley, sold under the hammer on Tuesday night for more than $2.6 million – more than $200,000 more than it was bought for in 2015.
There were 14 registered buyers at the LJ Hooker Double Bay auction, at which an opening bid of $2 million was pushed up over a gruelling 45-minute competition.
Ultimately buyers upped their bids by $1000 before it sold for $2.603 million.
The sale of the three-bedroom house was being greeted as a fillip to the market by local agents given it was listed a year ago in a strong market for $2.4 million and failed to sell at the time.
Despite no comment on the mortgagee-in-possession sale by LJ Hooker’s David Malouf, records show it was just one of a handful of properties bought by Cranston and his nominated companies in a 2015 property spree that is now being forcibly sold off as he awaits trial for his role in what is dubbed Australia’s largest white-collar crime case.
Cranston is one of the alleged key players behind the Plutus Payroll syndicate accused of misappropriating more than $130 million owed to the Australian Tax Office from pay-as-you-go payments.
It was originally bought in a company name of Harmon International Holdings, set up by Cranston’s sister Lauren, in 2014, and later transferred to Four Macdonald Pty Ltd, co-owned by Cranston and his alleged co-conspirator, former snowboarding champion and Foxtel commentator Onley.
Title records show the NSW Supreme Court ordered the sale of the property after federal police applied for a court order under the proceeds of crime legislation.
Following an eight-month federal police investigation into the alleged conspiracy, Cranston was arrested two years ago, and his assets seized and finances frozen.
Cranston and Onley are scheduled to return to the Downing Centre Local Court on July 9 ahead of a September committal hearing. Both are yet to enter a plea.
The federal police’s proceeds of crime action involving Cranston and others returns to the Supreme Court for directions on June 13.
At the time Cranston was arrested at the Bondi Beach townhouse he shared with his wife Elizabeth Rouhliadeff that was also part of the 2015 buying spree, picked up for $1.222 million. Roulhliadeff has not been charged in connection to the allegations against Cranston.
The townhouse sold earlier this year for $1.3 million.
The Vaucluse sales comes as housing stock levels in the eastern suburbs have plummeted this year down to 2003 levels, forcing buyers into tougher competition on properly priced properties.
It isn’t the only marathon auction that dragged on given decent competition in recent months. The Longueville waterfront home former AMP legal counsel Brian Salter and his wife Brigit sold earlier this month for close to $10 million after a two-hour auction.
A crowd of about 40 onlookers were on site to see an opening offer of $6 million pushed up thanks to hundreds of bids before it eventually ended in even more negotiations behind closed doors and sold later that day.