An Aussie promoter has attacked a Fairfax journalist after an article published by the Sydney Morning Herald accused him of withholding significant funds from Fleetwood Mac and Lenny Kravitz, dodging tax payments, and of smuggling tour finances into Australia.

A month ago, Fairfax published a report linking veteran promoter Andrew McManus with a lost bag containing $702,000 cash, citing a 2012 Police interview that implicated McManus of a number of questionable activities.

McManus has today issued a statement to media describing the SMH article as “gutter journalism by a bottom feeder” and accusing its writer, Kate McClymont, of publishing a “defaming and character damaging article.”

“Miss McClymont made false and libellous statements hiding behind journalistic protection and the draconian [defamation] laws with financial ceilings that have been set into Australian law,” writes McManus, who has toured bands such as Kiss, Aerosmith, Kris Kristofferson, plus forthcoming visits from UB40 and Yes.

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“Miss McClymont claims I withheld funds from bands including Fleetwood Mac. Probably the most scurrilous and damaging claim she made, one that is so laughable to its moronic core!” writes McManus. “A statement that is an unadulterated lie. Without divulging commercially sensitive information, Fleetwood Mac know they received all their fee in full and on time, their taxes were paid in full and on time and no monies were ever withheld.”

As for the accusations that he avoided tax, McManus asks: “How does she justify this statement? I know I can verify a $8,000.00 a month plan I make to the Australian Tax Office paying off past taxes totalling over ‘A Quarter of a Million Dollars’. This payment is for a company of which I was one of three Directors. I am now paying all three Directors shares to make sure ALL taxes are paid (copy of ATO instalment plan available for justification).”

The promoter also notes his ‘astonishment’ that he was not contacted directly for an interview or comment by Fairfax for the newspaper’s story. “It is much easier to fabricate and damage someone when they can’t respond or retaliate.”

“That I withheld money from Fleetwood Mac – that is such a lie! They’re my friends … they got paid in full.”

In a soon-to-be published interview with Tone Deaf, McManus called McClymont’s comments “enormously defamatory… that I withheld money from Fleetwood Mac – that is such a lie! They’re my friends, they know it, the band knows it, the tax department know it, everyone knows it – they got paid in full.”

He explains: “It’s caused me damage with certain friends overseas hence why I did the other article in the Herald Sun to ensure the message got across,” saying that he and his lawyers were investigating legal action against Fairfax and the NSW Police, though no legal action has eventuated.

The Herald Sun article in question sees McManus explaining that the Police interview from which McClymont’s claims are based was conducted during a period of personal turmoil; “I was on a lot of morphine, I was drinking, and I was not in a good place.”

In his statement to media today, McManus questions: “What has Miss McClymont to gain by dragging up a difficult time marred by health issues via painkiller and alcohol dependence? … [she] may hide behind the deep pockets and layers of lawyers afforded by Fairfax Media, but every dog has their day and bad news sells newspapers, irrespective of the damage done to name, business and affiliates directly affected by the slander.”

McManus explains to Tone Deaf that the $700k bag of money was intended to pay back Owen Hanson Jnr, on behalf of ZZ Top for a tour. “What they did with subsequently thereafter should be none of my business.”

When asked why he thought the 2012 Police interview had been drudged up, McManus replied, “to answer you, that’s exactly what I said, ‘why the fuck has this happened?’”

Adding that “from what my understanding is … the Police ran this case, what? Last three years? So they’ve cost the taxpayers of New South Wales nearly a million dollars. They turn around and go, ‘we need a scalp – take whoever you can’.  And when this journalist has gone in and dug in to find out who the players were, I’m the easiest mark. And so they try to character assassinate me again.”