Mum claims Centrelink while siphoning $750k

A WEALTHY Russian mum was getting Centrelink family benefits while she secretly transferred $750,000 from offshore accounts to avoid being taxed.

Nadezda Bek transferred $8000-9500 from Russian credit cards to two Australian accounts more than 70 times between July 2014 and February last year, a court was told yesterday.

Under federal law any cash amount more than $10,000 transferred into Australia from a foreign country is reportable and taxable.

Taking steps to deliberately avoid the reporting threshold is an offence.

Bek grinned as she left the Southport District Court yesterday, avoiding spending any time in prison.

Ms Bek grinned as she left court. Picture: Lea Emery
Ms Bek grinned as she left court. Picture: Lea Emery

Judge Catherine Muir sentenced Bek to four months in prison with immediate release on a 12-month, $1000 good behaviour bond.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of conducting transactions to avoid reporting requirements relating to threshold transactions.

Commonwealth prosecutor Ben Power said Bek, who lives in Robina, would take the cash from Russian credit cards and then deposit the money into one of her two Australian bank accounts.

The court was told Bek, and her former husband, were trying to transfer their Russian wealth to Australia without alerting authorities.

Bek transferred a total of $749,005 via transactions at ATMs in Robina.

The mother-of-two was receiving Centrelink family benefit payments at the time. The court was not told how much taxpayer money Bek received.

She was charged under an obscure law designed to stop money laundering related to the drug trade and terrorism groups from being funded.

She will not serve any prison time. Picture: Lea Emery
She will not serve any prison time. Picture: Lea Emery

Bek's barrister Tony Kimmins, instructed by Jacobson Mahony Lawyers, said Bek had no connection to money laundering, drugs or terrorism.

"It was a tax matter as opposed to any other nefarious matter," he said.

Bek was born in the Soviet Union in 1984. She moved to Australia when she was 17 and later became a permanent resident.

Judge Muir said Bek came from a "privileged" upbringing in Russia.

The Australian Taxation Office is now investigating the matter.