Friday, September 5, 2008

Taxing times ahead for Paul Hogan

PAUL Hogan has been accused of defrauding the tax office by borrowing money from one of his own offshore companies and then claiming a tax deduction of almost $1 million on the loan, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The transaction is revealed in previously secret documents which have been released by the Federal Court.

They detail for the first time some of the allegations made against the Crocodile Dundee star by the Australian Crime Commission, which has targeted Hogan as part of Australia's largest tax fraud inquiry, the $300 million Operation Wickenby.

ATO spray: Get off my case, says Hoges

Among them was the loan scheme between Hogan and a company called GB Film Finance. It is part of a "criminal investigation", according to an affidavit by crime commission investigator Ian Andrew.

Hogan is also accused of dodging tax by having periods when he was resident in neither Australia nor the US and therefore not liable to pay tax in either jurisdiction.

Hogan, 68, has strenuously denied doing anything illegal and said he has paid more than his fair share of tax.

His affairs were dealt with by Ernst & Young's Sydney office. The firm's Marcus Davis has told the court he had to get everything "that may have US tax or other legal implications" signed off by Hogan's US tax lawyer.

GB Film Finance, registered in the British Virgin Islands, is owned 50/50 by Hogan and fellow Crocodile Dundee investor, John Cornell.

Mr Andrew claims that in July 2000, Hogan borrowed $US4 million from the film finance company.

He claims a fictitious dispute was created between Hogan's US lawyer, Craig Emanuel, and the company over early repayment of the loan.

It was allegedly "settled" by Hogan repaying the loan with $US600,000 interest through one of his offshore trusts, the Quatre Saison Trust, and claiming $A910,884 as a tax deduction in his 2004 Australian income tax return.


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