Prominent Australian music promoter Andrew McManus has been arrested following an international investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the NSW Organised Crime Squad and the Australian Crime Commission.
As Fairfax Media reports, 54-year-old Mr McManus was arrested at Melbourne airport last night, and was one of five people arrested in Australia and the United States following an investigation which began after the discovery of $702,000 cash in a suitcase at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel.
The other individuals arrested are crime figure Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke, Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan and US businessman Owen Hanson Junior.
McManus, of One World Entertainment, is the promoter for KISS’ upcoming Australian tour, due to start in Perth on October 3rd, as well as forthcoming Def Leopard and and Live tours.
The investigation into the five individuals began when Mr Han’s former business partner, Sydney-based racehorse trainer-turned personal trainer Sean Carolan, was discovered in possession of the $702,000 suitcase in August 2011.
In a 2012 police interview, Mr McManus claimed to be the owner of the cash found in the suitcase, and reportedly told police he kept the money instead of passing it onto artists he was promoting.
Mr McManus said he was going to repay Mr Hanson with the money because Mr Hanson had paid the deposit Mr McManus needed for a ZZ Top tour. “I gave someone 700 large, and you’ve found someone with 700 large. It’s my 700 large,” Mr McManus told police in an interview with detectives in April 2012.
In November 2014 police executed search warrants at Mr McManus’ business premises in Richmond and his home in Mornington Peninsula over the $702,000 cash.
The money was confiscated and remains in the custody of NSW authorities.
Police are expected to charge Mr McManus with attempting to pervert the course of justice over the unsuccessful case to retrieve the cash, and knowingly participating in a criminal group.
Police have not alleged that Mr McManus has ever been involved in the importation of drugs.
One World Entertainment are yet to comment on Mr McManus’ arrest.
UPDATE 14/09/15: Representatives for Mr McManus have issued a statement saying the promoter will “strenuously defend the charges that have been brought against him”. Read the full statement here.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story has been amended to reinforce that McManus is not alleged to have ever been involved in the importation of drugs