Jailed Victorian SMSF auditor disqualified

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has disqualified a Victorian SMSF auditor who was convicted of criminal offences and is serving time in prison.

Nayanaka Arjuna Samarakoon was charged with offences including dealing with a property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime and attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception.

According to the ATO, Samarakoon was a registered tax agent who was sentenced to 29 months’ imprisonment in October last year, with 18 to serve at that time, for attempting to defraud the commonwealth of around $550,000 and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Samarakoon was sentenced in the Victorian County Court in Melbourne for his role as a tax professional in a company that fraudulently claimed refunds on two separate occasions in 2013 from the ATO under the Research and Development Tax Incentive, with a total value of $549,719.

He transferred the majority of the funds to his individual bank account, making a personal gain of $380,000.

On this basis, ASIC deemed Samarakoon is not fit and proper to be an SMSF auditor.

ASIC commissioner John Price said: “SMSF auditors play a fundamental role in promoting confidence in the SMSF sector.

“ASIC will continue to take action where the conduct of SMSF auditors is inadequate.”

SMSF trustees and members can check whether their auditor is registered or whether a person has been disqualified by searching ASIC’s SMSF auditor register.

All SMSF auditors are required to be registered with the corporate regulator.

The ATO monitors SMSF auditor conduct and may refer matters to ASIC for possible action such as disqualification or registration suspension.

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