AN ARREST warrant has been issued for Fremantle Ports’ employee Giacomo (Jack) Merolla and his wife Daniela Merolla regarding alleged corruption.
Police believe the two 54-year-olds left Australia earlier in 2020.
WA Police said an investigation began after Fremantle Ports reported concerns about the activity of an employee.
The investigation is alleged to have identified evidence of corrupt business practices between 2014 and 2020, and allege a ports employee created several shelf companies in Australia and overseas.
According to police, the companies were used to “fraudulently manipulate the procurement of goods and services with local businesses directing monies to his own benefit”.
“The full extent of the financial benefit gained by those involved in the fraudulent activity is still being assessed, however to date more than $1 million has been identified as being transferred to bank accounts controlled by the shelf companies,” police said in a statement to the ABC.
WA Police say they have seized $70,000 following raids on residences and a storage facility.
The ABC has also reported that police have arrested and charged two people related to Mr and Mrs Merolla with two counts and seven counts of property laundering respectively.
The man and woman appeared in Perth Magistrates Court recently and were granted bail until 11 August.
Addressing the media, Fremantle Ports chairman Ross Love said “the activities that are referred to here are a betrayal of all of us who are part of the port authority and we are appalled that they have occurred”.