Mr Cranston was declared not guilty in the NSW District Court after three weeks of trial and two days of deliberation by the jury.
The ATO veteran had earlier pleaded not guilty to a count of using information he obtained as deputy tax commissioner with the intention of dishonestly benefiting his son, and a charge of allegedly using his influence as a senior officer in the Tax Office to dishonestly obtain a benefit for his son.
Mr Cranston had resigned from his position in the Tax Office in 2017 after he faced scrutiny for his role in his son Adam’s tax fraud syndicate case.
The matter led to the Inspector General of Taxation launching a review into the ATO’s fraud control management, with the agency eventually cleared of any systemic internal fraud or corruption.
“In relation to this matter, I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and I’m just so happy that the justice system prevailed … especially when you know you’re innocent and you know things can go wrong and I’ve never felt like that in my life and I’ve never been so emotional in my life, I think, except for when my children were born,” said Mr Cranston outside the court room.
When asked what his next career step would be, Mr Cranston said he would “do something different or continue with some consultancy and help the tax profession”.
Mr Cranston had worked for the Tax Office for over 40 years before his resignation.
An ATO spokesperson told Accountants Daily that it had accepted the decision of the court but would not be able to make any further comments as other matters related to Operation Elbrus remain before the courts.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.