Australian Promoter Andrew McManus Arrested

MELBOURNE, Victora (CelebrityAccess) — Australian promoter Andrew McManus was arrested at a Melbourne airport on September 10th as part of an international roundup following a joint investigation by the FBI and the New South Wales Police into alleged money laundering and drug smuggling.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McManus, 54, was one of five people arrested in Australia and the US as the result of an investigation that followed the 2011 discovery of a suitcase containing $700,000 in cash at Sydney's Hilton Hotel.

Also arrested were previously convicted drug dealer Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke and Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan, who were all captured in Sydney. U.S. businessman Owen Hanson Jr. was arrested in San Diego by Federal agents, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr McManus has been charged with perverting the course of justice, attempting to defraud by false or misleading statements and knowingly participating in a criminal group to assist crime. He was released on bail on Thursday night and is scheduled to appear in court in Sydney on Oct. 14th, a NSW Police spokeswoman told The Herald. Police have not charged McManus with drug or money laundering charges.

According to reporting initially done by Fairfax Media, the international investigation began in 2011 when New South Wales police, responding to an anonymous tip reporting a gun, searched the hotel room of Sean Carolan, a Sydney-based former cage-fighter and racehorse trainer-turned personal trainer, who, at the time, was business partners with Owen Hanson Jr.

While police did not find a gun, they found a black suitcase containing $702,000. At the time, Mr. Carolan claimed that the money belonged to his partner, Mr. Hanson Jr. who was investing in Mr. Carolan's weight loss business. Police confiscated the money, leading Carolan to take legal action to reclaim it.

Andrew McManus then came forward to claim the money, stating that it was the proceeds from a Lenny Kravitz tour in New Zealand and was intended as the repayment for a loan from Hanson to cover the deposit on a ZZ Top tour.

"I gave someone 700 large, and you've found someone with 700 large. It's my 700 large," McManus told police during the interview in April, 2012. – Staff Writers