Prominent Businessmen's arrest reveals Australian trafficking conspiracy
Owen Michael Hanson, a former USC tight end, turned entrepreneur, who runs 310 Development, a Los Angeles real estate design and architecture firm, finished his round of golf at a Carlsbad course last Thursday. In the sweltering San Diego heat of the late afternoon, he walked through the parking lot of the San Diego area country club, where he was arrested by agents with the FBI, and federal officers from Sydney, Australia. He is charged with a single count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, in a indictment unsealed Friday. Australian authorities are seeking his extradition to file more charges.
At Melbourne Airport, Australia, hours earlier, a 54 year old man, with an air of entitlement, and privilege and multiple cell phones attempted to board his flight. He is overweight, perhaps from the indulgences of the good life, including alcohol and morphine. His hair is thinning, white, his clothes stylish. Andrew Mcmanus, of his own One World Productions, and Australian native is also arrested by federal authorities. One World is featuring a KISS reunion tour this fall in Australia.
He has been charged with perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statements, and knowingly participating in a criminal group.
Others named in the conspiracy include Craig Haeusler, 55, Michael Croke, 65(attorney of Mcmanus, and partner in a nightclub) and Zeti Atilgan, 32 a pastry shop owner. The men had been under investigation in a convoluted conspiracy case that goes back to the summer of 2011.
The case involves 300 kilograms of cocaine, steroids, money laundering, casinos, MMA fighting, the backdrop being the charmed life successful businessmen, concert promoters with designer homes, and celebrity clients and friends. All three are free on bail, Mcmanus is due in court on October 14th.
|McManus arrested last week|
In August 2011, Sean Caroloan, a sort of amalgam of sleazy by reputation occupations, who was allegedly, at this point calling himself a personal trainer, after being a cage fighter and racehorse trainer was detained in possession of a black suitcase with 700,000 in cash, in 10,000 bundles. Police acting on an anonymous tip, detained Carolan at the Hilton, in Sydney. He claimed the cash belonged to his business partner, Owen Michael Hanson.
Hanson apparently had invested in Carolan's weight loss business, Advanced Peptide Solutions. Carolan, has a history of sordid business dealings, including his NUBODI weight loss, featured on the Rip Off report. Also, Carolan was accused of administering HGH to the Roosters, a Sydney Rugby team.
|One of McManus' former luxury homes|
The men, Carolan at the forefront began a series of legal maneuvers to reclaim the 700k. They would be unsuccessful after a trial last year, to receive back the money.
'Do you want me to tell you the, the full story on basically how this money was laundered"? -Owen Michael Hanson, police interview.
Hanson, who apparently spent a lot of time in Sydney's casinos and hotels, claimed the money was for silent investors, who were anxious to be paid back for Hanson's business ventures. "I have silent investors that are basically at their wits end over here...I deal with a lot of professional athletes, a lot of people are upset...".
Enter Andrew Mcmanus, interviewed in 2012, who told a different story, in a candid and incriminating series of interviews with the police. "I gave someone 700 large. You found someone with 700 large. It's my 700 large". He told investigators he had 600 large in a safe at his house at the moment.
He claimed the money was to repay Hanson, who had fronted the money for a ZZ Top concert in Australia, that Mcmanus company One World Productions had promoted. Mcmanus claimed he used couriers to smuggle the money in from America, the proceeds from a Lenny Kravitz Concert, to avoid the Australian Tax Organization, who were already circling, seeking millions in back taxes.
McManus claimed friends of his, including Craig Haeusler, who was "like my brother", and Owen Michael Hanson would front him money to support his struggling business, due to financial difficulties and tax troubles. Hasusler, served 5 years for managing a methamphetamine distribution network in Sydney, and was released from prison in 2003, after a 5 year sentence. He is a "known organized crime figure", according to Australian authorities.
McManus in a later press interview, said he was using alcohol and morphine at the time, and "not in a good place", and "not a lucid man". After several bad deals and failed, financially devastating tours, he was 4.2 million in debt in 2011. He started abusing alcohol, a bottle of vodka a day, and eventually pain killers. He claims, "I lost my character and all my credibility". To pay off his debt, and continue his lifestyle, McManus sold six properties, homes and liquidated his business, Andrew McManus Presents International PTY LTD.
|Hilton Hotel, Sydney, Australia|
He also sold luxury cars, including a Bentley, Range Rover, and Mercedes. After suicide attempts, a broken back, and depression, among other woes, he went to rehab for six weeks. He claimed he was a changed man. He now lives in a modest home, and drives a 30 year old Rolls Royce, given to him by friend, Jerry Lewis. The 702,000 and the scandal have followed him in the press in Australia since 2011.
Authorities allege the money was proceeds from cocaine trafficking, and was to be laundered in Sydney and Las Vegas casinos. Hanson, allegedly introduced through Haeusler to an unnamed professional gambler, who would take checks from the Sydney Star casino and cash them in Vegas. Camera footage from the casino, the night in August shows McManus stuffing bundles of cash into a black bag. Carolan is the alleged bag man.
In 2014 after years of maneuvering, Carolan lost at trial. Afterwards a series of raids in Sydney, and Victoria turned up steroids, marijuana, 68,000, and electronic devices and equipment. The raids were focused on properties belonging to Mcmanus and others allegedly involved in the conspiracy. Authorities became aware of plans to import up to 300 kilos of cocaine into Australia, where the price is over 100,000 per kilo.
Enter Owen Michael Hanson, known to his Australian circles as 'dispose', the 33 year old business prodigy, with a silver AK-47 with the Louis Vuitton logo adorning his designer Redondo Beach home's living room, and a taste for Las Vegas.
Sources: The Sydney Herland, The Daily Telegraph, ABC News, The Herald Sun, The San Diego Union Tribune, La Times.