Michael John Issakidis conspired to take $135m from the tax office.
Michael John Issakidis conspired to take $135m from the tax office.

Mega tax cheat loses quirky court appeal

One of Australia's biggest tax fraudsters has failed to overturn his conviction after a NSW judge refused to grant a juror leave to attend a job interview.

Gold Coast businessman Michael John Issakidis, 75, was convicted and jailed for at least seven-and-a-half years after conspiring with Anthony Dickson to defraud the Australian Taxation Office of about $135 million.

He took the case to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal this year claiming the two guilty verdicts returned by a Supreme Court jury in 2017 were tainted by the behaviour of Justice Robert Beech-Jones.

On the jury's 11th full day of deliberations and in the 10th week of the trial, the jury asked if they could leave early for the day as one of them had a job interview they'd effectively been unable to postpone.

Justice Beech-Jones refused and said that any present or prospective employer with difficulty should come into his court to tell him about it.

"It is not a TV quiz show and it is very important," he said.

"I will not have people giving people a hard time as employees because the case has run slightly longer than expected.

"The employee who has the job interview will have (their) phone and can telephone that person."

The jury returned its guilty verdicts four hours later - proof, in Issakidis' eyes, that Justice Beech-Jones had put "impermissible pressure" on the jury to return a verdict.

But the Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday held that the judge's actions hadn't had that effect.

"We are fortified in this view by the fact that the trial judge adopted the course he took after consultation with both the Crown and the accused's representatives who agreed with the approach," Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and Justices Clifton Hoeben and Fabian Gleeson said.

Issakidis and Dickson's medical firm deliberately absorbed $450 million in false tax deductions, mostly due to lies about the cost of acquiring a cancer vaccine and two other medical technologies.

Issakidis will be eligible for parole in April 2025.


10 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this weekend

Premium Content 10 things to do on the Sunshine Coast this weekend

There’s plenty on offer on the Coast this weekend. See the list

Miles calls out feds for removing troops from border

Premium Content Miles calls out feds for removing troops from border

Deputy Premier Steven Miles calls out Federal Government on ‘lies’

Fashionable trend saves designer Di thousands

Premium Content Fashionable trend saves designer Di thousands

High-profile interior designer Di Henshall knows how to make the most of an...