SYDNEY : A Sri Lankan man accused of stealing almost $250,000 meant for 10 high-profile international cricketers to take part in local competitions in Melbourne’s south-east allegedly siphoned the money from his employer’s bank account over more than a year, Australian media reported.
Navishta De Silva, 35, from Doncaster, faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday charged with 19 theft- and deception-related offences.
According to court documents, police allege that De Silva falsified tax invoices and purchase orders for his Mulgrave employer Omni Vision that were purportedly from a legitimate supplier called CCTV Masters.
Police allege this occurred on 18 different occasions at Mulgrave, in Melbourne’s south-east, between March 2021 and July 2022.
The amounts transferred into a bank account De Silva allegedly operated and controlled ranged from $2700 to $36,407.
Online, Omni Vision describes itself as an internationally recognised company specialising in digital CCTV and electronic security that provides security services for conglomerates such as McDonald’s, Caltex, Ampol and Mobil.
De Silva appeared in court in person alongside defence lawyer Tim Schocker for the brief hearing. It was his first court appearance in the matter, and he is yet to indicate if he plans to contest the charges. His bail was extended and he was ordered to return to court in the new year.
Earlier, police said the money involved was allegedly put into the man’s own business, which sourced and paid for 10 international cricket players to participate in local cricket competitions
At the time charges were laid on November 24, detectives said that none of the players had participated in matches.
Desilva’s social media profiles show he is a member of the Endeavour Hills Cricket Club and the founder of a company called Global Talent Entertainment.
He is charged with 18 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.
The suburban cricketer, who remains on bail, is expected to return to court in February.
Desilva was an organiser of a Twilight T20 event held at Shepley Oval in Dandenong over the weekend in conjunction with Endeavour Hills Cricket Club.
Inquiries made by The Age found West Indies legend Chris Gayle, English batter Dawid Malan, former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and Sri Lankan stars Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne were billed to be part of the game. Malan confirmed on Friday that he pulled out.
Prominent Australian DJ Havana Brown was also slated to perform at the event, which had been billed by organisers as a “cricket festival like no other”, with tickets priced up to $120.
It is unknown whether the event is amid the competitions linked by detectives to the alleged scheme.
The Age contacted Endeavour Hills Cricket Club for comment about De Silva’s involvement with the club. The club did not respond to this masthead’s request, but in a statement shared on social media on Friday said it was not involved in the charges laid by police and the allegations were “past matters between an employer and employee”.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald