Townsville Bulletin

Money launder charges


A FORMER Townsville soldier turned jetsetting cryptocurr­ency investor is charged with a string of serious offences and is accused of cleaning more than $2m worth of dirty cash.

Detectives from Townsville’s Major Organised Crime squad charged Michael James Sloggett, 37, ( pictured) after raiding his Garbutt residence and Townsville business address on April 13.

Officers seized $165,000 worth of cryptocurr­ency and eight vials of steroids.

As a result of the searches Sloggett was charged with five money laundering offences including conducting transactio­ns to avoid reporting requiremen­ts related to threshold transactio­ns as well as dealing in proceeds s of crime, money or r property worth $1m or more and providing a designated service e using customer anon- ymity between Decem- ber 2020 and April il 2021.

Operation Sierra a Avalanche started in August 2020 to investigat­e allegation­s Sloggett laundered $2.5m of money that was the proceeds of crime.

Sloggett became known in the cryptocurr­ency community through his associatio­n with trader and self-described “hustler” 29-year-old Sam Karagiozis.

Together the pair travelled the country in 2017 rallying investment­s in Karagiozis’s bitcoin start-up AUSCOIN, which promised to integrate

B Bitcoin and crypto tocurrency into da daily life and inst stall thousands of cr crypto ATMS ar around the countr try – which dispe pensed the cu currency he creat ated.

F Four years later, the company has just 28 operating Bitcoin ATMS, both Sloggett and Karagiozis face serious criminal charges and the homegrown crypto is worth just under 1.5c a pop.

Karagiozis is charged with 13 offences including importing, possessing and traffickin­g drugs. The Townsville Bulletin does not allege either Sloggett or Karagiozis’s alleged offending is related.

Sloggett did not appear when his matter was first mentioned in Townsville Magistrate­s Court on Tuesday but is still listed as the chief marketing officer on the AUSCOIN website.

The Townsville man has previously boasted of his impressive crypto returns online and in the media. In 2017 he told the Bulletin he paid off his mortgage and was funding a new home with profits generated through investing in Bitcoin and has shared photos of himself rubbing shoulders with tennis player Lleyton Hewitt as the pair cheered on Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open in 2018

Sloggett who worked as a supplement salesman was also involved with Townsville­based My Bitcoin Academy, which he launched in 2017. MBA offers leadership and cryptocurr­ency education courses, retreats and sells itself online as the country’s leading Bitcoin and cryptocurr­ency trading organisati­on.

MBA was contacted but declined to comment. Sloggett was previously one of the faces of the company but was absent from its most recent training course, which was held earlier this month on the Gold Coast.

Attendees shared their grievances about his absence online saying they were “sad and gutted”.

“They didn’t even tell us he wasn’t coming and they would not answer our questions,” one person shared on Facebook.

Sloggett, who is on bail for his money laundering charges, was issued a Notice to Appear in court at a later date for 12 drug-related offences.

His matters will return to court in October.

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