Former Ryde mayor’s Tax Fraud Appeal

Former Ryde mayor and councillor Artin Etmekdjian will today appear in the NSW District Court to appeal the severity of his sentence, after his conviction for tax fraud.

Etmekdjian was handed a seven-month suspended jail sentence, to be served as an intensive corrections order (ICO) in mid-April, after admitting to “dishonestly influencing a public official” over the backdating of returns on behalf of ex-Macquarie Bank executive Michael Carapiet.

Etmekdjian has resigned from the Liberal Party and could be disqualified as an accountant pending disciplinary action.

Today’s matter, before Judge A Townsden, will have no effect on his conviction over the tax fraud, which will remain.

Etmekdjian did not disclose details to Ryde Council on his prosecution over the four months to his sentencing, continuing to vote on council matters and collect allowances as a councillor.

Despite the ATO announcing Etmekdjian’s conviction in a media release, it took Ryde Council nine days to break its silence on the matter.

“Based on Council’s legal advice, Artin Etmekdjian is disqualified from holding public office as a Councillor at the City of Ryde,” it said in a statement published on its website on April 20.

Disclosures were also not made to legal representatives of former Ryde Mayor Ivan Petch and local businessman John Goubran, both since cleared of “blackmail” allegations in which Etmekdjian was to be a key witness.

During a committal hearing in relation to the now-discredited blackmail allegations, on June 8 before Magistrate Beverley Schurr, it was revealed that Etmekdjian was also convicted in 2011, while serving as Ryde Mayor over three firearm offences, which he also unsuccessfully appealed.

No public disclosures have been made over the firearm convictions. The OLG is yet to advise on further action in relation to Etmekdjian’s participation in council matters during several months of court attendance in his tax fraud prosecution.