| Turned over $2.453 billion in one year! |
From racenet today:
The world’s biggest punter Zeljko Ranogajec is in a fight with the Australian Taxation Office over alleged massive earnings from an exclusive "punters club”.
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on Thursday that court documents filed in the Federal Court this week "show that the club's turnover increased from $555 million in 2004 to $2.453 billion in 2006”.
The ATO alleges "Ranogajec, a 20.79 percent shareholder, made $36,033,599 from the punters club over the three years from 2004 to 2006, but did not declare any of it as taxable income”.
Ranogajec is appealing the ATO’s assessment of his income on the basis that the punters club is a hobby and therefore profits do not need to be declared as taxable income.
He declared income of $736,000 for the period, none of which it’s alleged was derived from the punters club.
Ranogajec is the biggest stakeholder in the 17 member club that was set up by a group of ex-maths students from the University of Tasmania. The operation operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week betting on sporting and racing events across the globe.
The ATO says Ranogajec is a central administrative figure of the operation that liaises with wagering operators, and negotiates "rebates" paid to the club by betting agencies due to the volume of bets placed by the punters club.
During a commercial dispute in the Federal Court in 2008, Ranogajec, aka John Wilson, described himself as an "investor” in the punters club before giving evidence that the more money you turnover, the more money that comes back to you in rebates.
"If you bet $100 and lost $5, but you get a 10 percent rebate, you still make 5 percent,” he said.
Court documents back in that case revealed 15 percent of what the syndicate earned from US racing over that 3½-year period was from selecting the right horses.
Ranogajec’s old university pal David Walsh, who owns the $180 million Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) outside Hobart, is another member of the punters club.
Walsh’s personal introduction to his book Monanisms reads, "I invent a gambling system. Make a money mine. Turns out it ain’t so great getting rich using someone else’s idea. Particularly before he had it. What to do? Better build a museum; make myself famous. That will get the chicks”.
The Tax Office is pursuing members of the club as most are Australian citizens.