Anglo American has alleged that a former Brisbane-based project manager misappropriated more than $4m in a civil suit filed to Queensland’s Supreme Court.
According to a report this week from ABC News, the mining giant has filed a civil suit to the Supreme Court in Brisbane alleging that former project director Glenn Tonkin ran an elaborate scheme to siphon off cash to offshore bank accounts.
Court documents claim money, which was supposed to be for mine equipment and services, was misappropriated by Tonkin, in an act of “serious criminal conduct”.
Tonkin, who left Anglo last month – allegedly after he was confronted by Anglo’s head of human resources over suspicious emails – was paid roughly $350,000 in salary by Anglo to run the miner’s Grosvenor underground project at Moranbah, in Central Queensland.
Part of his work involved signing off on payments to contractors, suppliers, and other companies taking part in the operation.
But the court documents filed by Anglo allege that Tonkin, 50, used fake invoices, a New York consulting company that did no work, and fake email correspondence with a Florida supplier, to siphon off cash to bank accounts in Barbados and London, according to the ABC.
Affidavits reportedly cite around $3m in payments made to Advanced Mining Services (AMS) for consulting services it did not provide.
Anglo investigators are said to have found the London address for AMS was a mail-forwarding service, and a woman at the office said the AMS owner was “an Australian gentleman,” who rarely visited the office.
In response to Anglo’s filing, the Brisbane Supreme Court issued orders freezing $1.5m of Tonkin’s assets.
Tonkin told the court he owns property worth around $3m, as well as a catamaran, several cars and motorbikes, according to the ABC.
The case is adjourned in the Supreme Court and a date is to be set.