“I could probably dive into either one of these companies. When he was smaller I could just probably come and help him out a little bit. But now he’s got a bit bigger … he’s still got a few leftover problems but anyway.”
Mr Cranston told the court that he had almost 40 years in the tax business and “there is a time when you’ve got to do something different in your life”.
“One of the possibilities is Adam had a growing business,” he said.
“Maybe the father had an opportunity to work with his son and maybe that would be a good thing.”
He said his mention of “leftover problems” was a reference to Adam telling him he had a problem with one of his business partners and that a manager in his restaurant chain was “not doing the right thing”.
‘Sick and very angry’
Mr Cranston also described a meeting he held with his son and his lawyer Dev Menon at his office at the ATO on the 16th floor of the World Square building in Sydney.
Mr Menon had used the meeting to set out to Mr Cranston “a particular structure he was thinking of putting in place or had put in place already” for an unnamed labour hire firm.
He then asked “how do I make sure the tax office is happy with this”, Mr Cranston said.
Mr Cranston said he told Mr Menon to put the facts to the ATO in the same process as a private ruling, where a party can ask the ATO if a structure meets the tax laws.
“I said on the sound of it it does sound like there’s a lot of commercial attributes… but you really need to make it formal.”
On May 1, Mr Cranston sought to get the ATO to meet with his son’s lawyers after the tax office froze the accounts of a payroll company connected to Adam and left 2000 contractors without their wages.
Mr Cranston told his wife in a May 2 phone call that he was “very worried about Adam” and “the Peter thing”, a reference to his son’s former partnerPeter Larcombe, who he said had “raped a labour hire company”.
“I was very cranky about potential things my son was involved in,” Mr Cranston testified. “I was very sick and I was very angry.”
“The press if they connect me with being a deputy commissioner denying wages to 2000 workers…taken out of context, and my son being involved.
“I could just imagine the press exaggerating that. It would have been very difficult to manage.”
In a following call he told his son Adam that “I shouldn’t have made the call” to assistant commissioner Tony Poulakis on May 1 to ask him to have someone from the ATO call Mr Menon about the garnishee notice.
“I was just letting him know that I probably shouldn’t have done that so he would know to be a bit more careful so that things couldn’t be taken out of context,” he testified.
“Probably the way it came to me there wasn’t any other thing that I could have done. Maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t come to me.”
Mr Cranston is expected to be cross-examined by the Crown later in the week.