For a man who used to pose for photographs beside a Ferrari and a beautiful woman, the properties related to Tony Sage that were raided by Federal Police on Wednesday are anything but glamorous.
In this dowdy network of Perth cul de sacs, wedged between a major freeway, a railway line and a massage business that is open ‘‘till late’’, the only hint of glamour is the framed playing shirt of Argentinian soccer club River Plate that has hung above Mr Sage’s desk from time to time.
It is believed the authorities may have visited more than one property in this small corner of Perth, including the building that houses the city’s A-League soccer club Perth Glory, which is one of several businesses in Mr Sage’s web.
Perth Glory, which recently failed in its bid to sign superstar David Beckham, released a statement this afternoon confirming the raids did not enter its offices and that the club was not involved in the enquiries.
Mr Sage’s main company, Cape Lambert Resources, has also issued a statement distancing itself from the raids, despite having its own tax problems earlier this year.
‘‘The company believes the matters relating to the execution of these warrants are not related to its business and have co-operated with the AFP fully,’’ Cape Lambert Resources said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Cape Lambert Resources recently pledged to pay $33 million to the tax office as a preliminary payment on a wider tax dispute.
With his two highest profile business interests seemingly distanced from the raids, uncertainty remains around Mr Sage’s personal tax affairs and the network of micro-cap companies he is involved in.
Aside from Cape Lambert Resources, in which his biggest ASX-listed share holdings are located, Mr Sage is also director of at least eight other listed and private companies.
This part of his world is typified by over-lap: the registers often feature both Mr Sage and Cape Lambert as separate investors, with many of his companies holding stakes in each other.
Sources suggest Kupang Resources - which was previously known as Chameleon Mining - had its offices visited under yesterday's raids.
Rugby League legend Benny Elias is one of a small number of individuals that have partnered in Kupang with Mr Sage, and the company has spent much of its life in court battles, including some successful cases against Murchison Metals.
An accountant by trade, Mr Sage’s approach to the resources industry has been to scour the world for distressed assets, fix them up and then sell them on at a higher price.
The highlight of his dealings in the resources sector arguably came in 2008, when he sold a Western Australian magnetite project called ‘‘Cape Lambert’’ to Chinese interests for $400 million.
That company, the Metallurgical Corporation of China, is also involved as a contractor on the Sino Iron magnetite project that has helped deliver Clive Palmer a fortune.
It’s unclear which of those two projects has been more disastrous for MCC: both have suffered major delays and cost blowouts, and MCC was this week reported to be scaling back its presence in WA.
MCC is now looking for a ‘‘strategic partner’’ to help it salvage something from ruins at Cape Lambert.
Cape Lambert Resources’ current focus is an iron ore project in Sierra Leone known as Marampa.
Shares in Cape Lambert Resources were down 1.5 cents to 27 cents in afternoon trade on the back of the raids, which are part of an ongoing AFP investigation in partnership with commonwealth agencies including the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Tax Office, and Australian Securities and Investments Commission.