Indonesian investors caught in cattle export scam

Beef Central, 11/04/2013

Western Australian police have charged a Perth man with fraud after Indonesian investors were allegedly duped into paying $700,000 for cattle that did not exist.

The West Australian newspaper has reported this morning that police allege Paul Gregory Harrison, 48, approached an Indonesian cattle association in late 2008 with an offer to supply cheap, high-quality cows.

Investors were invited to tour WA feedlots, and over a year sent money to WA to import 10,000 beef and dairy cattle a month to Indonesia.

However, despite parting with $700,000, the cattle never arrived.

Mr Harrison has been charged with 35 counts of stealing around $700,000.

The alleged scam unravelled in 2010 when the first shipment failed to arrive in Indonesia.

The West Australian said Det-Sgt Shane Giblett alleged Mr Harrison went to great lengths to justify the delay, even claiming WA politicians wanted a ceremony to mark the first shipment because the deal supported indigenous development.

WA Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Rob Gillam told ABC News he was stunned by the case, and was concerned about its potential to damage Australia’s reputation as a cattle exporter.

"We're having a difficult enough time as it is now regaining the trust of the Indonesian government," he said.

"We're still getting over the 2011 cessation of the trade and so I would hope if there has been a fraud carried out that they are dealt with to the full extent of the law.

"In a trade that's currently very fragile anything can cause a hiccup."

WA policy say their inquiries into the alleged scam are continuing.

See this morning's report in the West Australian here


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