SYDNEY, NSW (CelebrityAccess) — Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus escaped a jail sentence after admitting that he lied to police about a suitcase containing $700,000 in exchange for an illicit loan from an alleged organized crime figure.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McManus was sentenced to 20 months in jail, but the judge referred him to alternative sentencing that would allow him to serve his time in the community instead of behind bars.
McManus was initially charged with fraud and criminal participation charges, but those charges were later dropped and McManus plead guilty in September of last year to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The charges stem from a 2011 incident where police seized a suitcase containing $700,000 from a Sydney hotel room. At the time, McManus attempted to claim the suitcase, telling investigators that the money was not the proceeds of a crime and was from his concert promotion business.
McManus was later one of several people arrested in both Australia and abroad in connection with an international drug syndicate, though McManus did not face any drug charges.
According to the Morning Herald, McManus told the court that his attempt to secure the suitcase from police was the result of a deal he struck with alleged underworld figure Craig Haeusler, who promised McManus 200,000 from the suitcase if he recovered it. McManus said he needed the money to finance a Lenny Kravitz concert.
According to McManus, he was severely depressed and using alcohol, prescription medication, and cocaine heavily at the time, leaving him with clouded judgment.
"I was looking at the world through the bottom of a vodka glass," he told the court, according to the Herald.
Per the Morning Herald, Crown prosecutor Stephanie Lind pushed for prison time, suggesting that McManus's offense was worse than average, but ultimately the judge did not agree, noting that McManus appeared to exhibit remorse and was unlikely to re-offend. – Staff Writers