‘Dr Ageless’, Shane Charter, chasing missing millions in Cayman Islands
The self-styled biochemist known as “Dr Ageless”, Shane Charter, appears to have shrugged off the Essendon supplements scandal and is pursuing a new business venture — chasing more than $11 million hidden in offshore tax havens by notorious conman Peter Foster.
Mr Charter has been negotiating for several months on behalf of Mr Foster and business partner Peter Nolan in a bid to stop legal proceedings by more than 150 investors in the failed online gambling company, Sports Trading Club.
Emails seen by Fairfax Media reveal that Mr Charter and Melbourne solicitor Mario Merlo offered to pay more than $7 million to a syndicate of disgruntled investors if they agreed to drop civil and criminal proceedings against Mr Foster over allegations of fraud and money laundering.
But the syndicate rebuffed the offer and recently lodged a writ in the Supreme Court of NSW that alleges Mr Foster and 10 associates engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and helped siphon more than $11 million to Hong Kong, Vanuatu and the Cayman Islands.
Several of Mr Foster’s family and associates including motor racing legend Alan Jones and Mr Foster’s niece Arabella Foster, have been served with freezing orders, amid allegations they helped conceal money and assets from investors.
Mr Jones has said he was “duped” by Mr Foster into accepting an ambassadorial role with Sports Trading Club.
Mr Foster was released from a Queensland prison last month, but faces a raft of new deception charges, with NSW Police’s Taskforce Apron investigating allegations of fraud and money laundering linked to his failed online gaming business.
Since the writs were filed in early November, Mr Charter has recently changed tack and appears to be involved with law firm Como Lawyers, which has attempted to deal directly with investors who lost money in Sports Trading Club.
Como Lawyers sent letters to victims on November 16 claiming they would attempt to recoup the “full outstanding principal amount” in return for 9.5 per cent of the recovered funds.
Como Lawyers principal Michael Chiodo said he was working on behalf of investors in Sports Trading Club, but would not discuss his business partners in the venture.
The law firm’s domain name was registered on November 12 by Nick Meletsis, who is a business associate of Mr Charter and brother-in-law of accused money launderer Tom Karas.
The new company also shares the same La Trobe Street address and fax number as the Meletsis-owned company State Securities, which acts as a high-interest money lender.
In 2013, Fairfax Media revealed Mr Charter made a loan to State Securities through his company, Performance Health (Aust), taking a stake in a Victorian terrace home in Fitzroy owned by Mr Karas and his wife, Irene Meletsis.
Mr Charter, a former power-lifting champion and convicted drug trafficker, was recently grilled in the Federal Court over his role in allegedly hiding assets from the Australian Tax Office on behalf of Ms Meletsis, who is the sister of Nick Meletsis.
Mr Charter was repeatedly unable to recall his business dealings with Ms Meletsis or Mr Karas, who collectively owe more than $67 million to the ATO from unexplained income and assets.
Mr Charter did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.