«It has to be the organised crime area because there’s that secret number on it,» Mr Cranston said during the phone call.
During his closing address to the jury Mr Cranston’s barrister, David Staehli, SC, said there was no such thing as a «secret number» in relation to Mr Anquetil’s file.
«It’s kind of ‘fake news’ in a way,» Mr Staehli said, adding that his client was «trying to push him [Adam Cranston] away from the potential for being involved with the wrong kind of people.»
During the telephone conversation with his son, Mr Cranston said that he’d told Mr Burrows that his son had bought into a business and was worried he was «getting into bed with a lying somebody».
Mr Cranston told the court that he’d mentioned «organised crime» because he wanted him to «risk-assess his situation» with his associates.
«In my own way I was just trying to tell him I couldn’t take the matter any further,» Mr Cranston said.
The court heard last week that Adam Cranston had also asked his father to help him find the appropriate person in the Tax Office for Mr Anquetil to contact about lifting orders that were in place withholding his access to money.
Adam Cranston had shown Mr Cranston an ATO letter sent to Mr Anquetil and told him his associate’s money had been derived from the sale of shares, the court heard.
In response, Mr Cranston said he believed the law had been incorrectly applied.
Crown prosecutor Peter Neil, SC, said Mr Cranston had «allowed himself to be improperly influenced in the matter simply because Adam wanted to know himself what was going on between the ATO and Anquetil».
«He simply, as it were, took his son’s side in this against the ATO,» Mr Neil said.
Mr Cranston is charged with obtaining information in his capacity at the ATO with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit for his son; and with exercising his influence in his capacity as a deputy commissioner of taxation with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit.
The second charge relates to Mr Cranston contacting another subordinate following a request from Adam Cranston to arrange a meeting between a company called Plutus Payroll and the ATO after orders were obtained freezing the payroll firm’s bank accounts and preventing subcontractors from being paid.
«Because Adam Cranston raised it with him … he again jumped to the conclusion … that the ATO had acted harshly,» Mr Neil said.
Mr Staehli’s closing address continues.
Angus Thompson is a court reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.