Underbelly: articles

Tax office pursues Roberta Williams

The Australian Taxation Office is after Roberta Williams, with the Zoo Weekly covergirl facing nine charges of failing to lodge a tax return.

AT the height of Melbourne's bloody gangland wars, when Carl Williams was picking off his rivals and making a fortune from dealing drugs, it seems his wife forgot to do the menial task of filing her tax returns.

The Australian Taxation Office is now after Roberta Williams, with the Zoo Weekly covergirl facing nine charges of failing to lodge a tax return from June 1998 to June 2006.

Williams - whose public profile has mushroomed thanks to the screening of gangland drama Underbelly and a string of appearances on television current affairs shows - yesterday failed to appear in court to answer the charges, The Australian reports.

The Broadmeadows Magistrates Court in Melbourne was told the mother of three had requested an adjournment by fax to the court before the hearing started.

The court was told Williams would fight the charges. The case was adjourned for a contested hearing.

Documents tendered to the court reveal Williams failed to "duly furnish a taxation return" and also did not respond to letters sent by the ATO to do so. Williams divorced her husband, convicted murderer Carl Williams, in 2007 and spent six months in jail in 2004 for drug trafficking.

Her celebrity profile - and no doubt taxable income - has increased and sparked controversy over the glamorising of underworld crime in Melbourne.

Williams has come under fire for profiting from her crimes, with appearances on A Current Affair and a Zoo Weekly photo shoot.

The 39-year-old told the men's magazine in July she would give a copy of the raunchy pics to her former husband, who is serving 34 years behind bars for multiple gangland murders.

"He's gonna die when he sees them," she said at the time. "He'll be happy for me 'cos he has always wanted me to be out of my shell more and give myself the gratitude and confidence I deserve."

Williams yesterday declined to comment on her problems with the ATO.

Her case was adjourned to September 23.

By Milanda Rout
August 27, 2008
The Australian