24 June 2024

Bankrupt Griffith winemaker to face Penrith Local Court over alleged driving offence

| Oliver Jacques
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man holding a bunch of grapes

Aaron Salvestrin will face Penrith Local Court next month over an alleged driving offence. Photo: Supplied.

A Griffith winemaker who declared himself bankrupt after being ordered to pay back $8.4 million to creditors will face a Sydney court next month over an alleged driving offence.

Aaron Salvestrin, 29, faces the charge of driving when his driver visiting privileges were withdrawn. He is to appear at Penrith Local Court on 11 July, 2024.

Driver visiting privileges in NSW are generally given to those from interstate or overseas, who are allowed to drive in this state if they have a licence from another jurisdiction.

The withdrawal of the privilege means you are not entitled to drive in NSW.

READ ALSO Griffith winemaker declared bankruptcy after court ordered him to pay back $8.4 million

It’s not clear why the Griffith man required driver visiting privileges in his home state. Penrith Local Court has rejected Region’s application for court documents.

Region has exclusively covered the saga of the 29-year-old’s winery, Sans Pareil Estate. The company went into liquidation in October 2022 and was alleged to have received up to $17 million from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) from “fraudulent” GST refund claims.

In 2023, the liquidator, Gavin Moss, launched Supreme Court proceedings to recover money from Mr Salvestrin. He alleged the company director made several “personal” transactions that did not benefit the business and therefore breached corporation law.

On 15 March, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Mr Moss and ordered Mr Salvestrin to pay back creditors $8.4 million. The Griffith winemaker declared himself bankrupt seven days later. Our article breaking this news was the most read in Region Riverina’s history, with more than 40,000 views.

Region understands that Mr Salvestrin has been living in Sydney for the past few months.

Overall, the winery is alleged to owe the ATO more than $32 million, including penalties and interest charges. Several small businesses are also allegedly owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

READ ALSO Griffith business ‘fraudulently’ claimed to have bought $200 million worth of wine to get GST refunds, ATO alleges

Mr Salvestrin did not attend any court hearing and has not responded to any of Region’s requests for comment.

The Supreme Court cases against Mr Salvestrin have been in the civil jurisdiction, meaning they are related to property or money and are not criminal matters.

He has not been charged with any crimes related to this matter.

The Australian Federal Police and ATO have both declined Region’s requests to comment on whether they are investigating this liquidation further.

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