14 March 2024

Griffith winemaker says OnlyFans transactions were ‘fraudulent’, court documents reveal

| Oliver Jacques
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Aaron Salvestrin was once touted as a rising star of the industry. Photo: Sans Pareil.

Griffith winemaker Aaron Salvestrin has challenged the validity of payments to the website OnlyFans after court documents revealed transactions to the online subscription service were allegedly made through his wine business.

Hanwood-based Sans Pareil Estate, launched by a 23-year-old Mr Salvestrin in 2018, went into liquidation four years later due to alleged debts to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of $32 million.

Region obtained court records, including an email and text he sent to liquidator lawyer Paul Hunt, to finally reveal the now 29-year-old’s views on this liquidation.

READ ALSO Griffith winemaker’s multi-million dollar ‘personal’ expenses scrutinised in liquidation hearing

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

According to documents tendered in court, this includes several purchases totalling $412.70 to the website OnlyFans.com made via Sans Holdings, one of nine companies registered under the Sans Pareil Estate umbrella.

OnlyFans is an internet content subscription service, often used by sex workers who produce pornography but also by other content creators, such as physical fitness experts and musicians.

Mr Salvestrin responded to these claims in an email sent to Mr Hunt on 4 February 2024.

“It is imperative to highlight that the OnlyFans transactions were the result of fraudulent activities, promptly identified and rectified,” he wrote.

“The compromised card details were stored in a password app that was subject to a security breach. These transactions were subsequently reimbursed. I trust that the liquidator, in the pursuit of accuracy, will discover and acknowledge this crucial detail.”

In this email, Mr Salvestrin also said he had been admitted to a mental health ward on 1 February for eight weeks.

The Griffith defendant has not attended any of the multiple Supreme Court hearings that have occurred over the past six months.

According to court documents, he responded to a text message from Mr Hunt asking if he would attend a hearing in November 2023.

“Hi Paul sorry I missed your calls. I have been busy doing charity work. Can I let you know in the morning if I am going to make it or not?” Mr Salvestrin texted.

He did not attend that hearing.

The liquidator also questioned several payments made to the music subscription app Spotify through Salvestrin Enterprises.

A house at 38 Brooks street

This property at 39 Brooks Street in Collina was the subject of a Supreme Court ruling in the Salvestrin case. Photo: realestate.com.au.

“In my investigation I have not been able to identify any records which indicate the Spotify payments were proper business expenses of Salvestrin Enterprises,” he wrote in a document tendered to court.

In a court hearing on 6 March, the purchase of a PlayStation, a universal home theatre system and an item bought in a department store in Paris, France, were also scrutinised. These items were purchased on American Express cards in Mr Salvestrin’s name.

It is alleged that $6.3 million of expenses were made on these credit cards.

READ ALSO Application to wind up Griffith winery Warburn in insolvency dismissed in Victorian Supreme Court

The liquidator is seeking to make the case that if Mr Salvestrin spent company funds on personal expenses, this money should be repaid to creditors. Judgement on this matter is expected to be handed down within days.

The ATO has alleged the winery created fake Business Activity Statements (BAS) to claim just over $17 million worth of GST refunds to which it was not entitled.

Region has also reported that the liquidator sold a McLaren P1 supercar signed by Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo, owned by the winery, in January 2023 for $1.47 million.

A spacious five-bedroom house in Collina bought through Sans Pareil Estate at 39 Brooks Street was recently advertised for sale for $790,000. It has now been taken off the market and is listed as “under offer”.

This Supreme Court case against Mr Salvestrin is in the civil jurisdiction, meaning it relates to property or money and is not a criminal matter.

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

Original Article published by Oliver Jacques on Region Riverina.

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