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Date & time Oct 13
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Tax dodger charged with restaurateur's murder

Two men were charged yesterday over the murder, seven years ago, of restaurateur and abalone exporter Angelo Romeo.

Mr Romeo, 51, was the co owner of the Shearwater International restaurant on Phillip Island and ran a successful abalone exporting business from a factory in High Street, Northcote.

David Maxwell Selway, 61, of fake van cleef bracelets Rhyll, Mr Romeo's former business partner, has been charged with murder. Another man, Richard Deering, 73, of San Remo, has been charged with being an accessory to murder.

Both are in custody and will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Mr Romeo was reported missing after his white Toyota Hi Ace van was found, with the keys in the ignition and his mobile telephone turned off, parked in Theobold Street, Thornbury, on May 28, 1997.

A family member was notified and drove the van back to the abalone factory without realising Mr Romeo's body was inside.

Police found his van cleef alhambra bracelet imitation body, which had multiple gunshot wounds, beneath empty polystyrene boxes in the back of his van, parked behind the factory, two days later.

His death was taken as a sign the abalone industry, traditionally the domain of licensed divers and local poachers, was becoming a thriving underworld trade dominated by Asian organised crime and large scale backyard processing.

A police spokesman said yesterday's arrests had no connection to Melbourne's recent gangland murders.

When a $100,000 reward was offered in February last year for information about the murder, police said Mr Romeo was most likely shot near his Phillip Island home.

Mr Romeo, who had no criminal record, was last seen alive by his widow, Pierina, at their restaurant on Sunday, May 25, 1997.

Mr and Mrs Romeo owned the restaurant in partnership with Selway, a close friend who in November van cleef and arpels bracelet knock off 2000 was convicted of defrauding the Federal Government of $530,000 in taxes.

In partnership with his co accused, Frederick Byron Kaufman, he claimed false tax deductions totalling more than $1 million between 1986 and 1989.

Mrs Romeo gave evidence at his trial, revealing she and Selway, then 58, had developed an intimate relationship after her husband's murder.

Mrs Romeo said her husband treated Selway not just as a business colleague and close friend, but as a brother. She said that after the shooting he had hardly left her side.

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