BIG NAMES FACING TAX PROBE – Saturday June 15 2013

– Prominent Australians including captains of industry, politicians, philanthropists, developers, lawyers, accountants, criminals and entrepreneurs are set to become embroiled in one of the nation’s most explosive tax investigations into offshore structures.
This follows the leaking of data to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based in Washington.
Its stories have had worldwide ramifications and embarrassed business leaders and politicians around the globe.
Now a ‘Saturday Age’ investigation has revealed that more than 500 Australians feature in the 2.5 million documents.
The documents were leaked independently to tax authorities here and in Britain and the United States, which together have already launched investigations in what might become the biggest international tax probe in history.
The leaks stem from two overseas wealth management companies – Commonwealth Trust Ltd in the British Virgin Islands and Portcullis TrustNet, an Asian-based company offering services in tax havens stretching from the Cook Islands to the Seychelles.
Project Wickenby – a multi-agency taskforce comprising the Australian Crime Commission, the Federal Police and the Tax Office – will handle some of the fresh investigations.
Greg Williams, the Tax Office’s deputy commissioner, serious non-compliance, said: “The people who are involved in this, it is not the man in the street. It is not the average salary and wage earner. It is people who are wealthy enough to make this behaviour potentially worthwhile for them.”
The Tax Office has confirmed two individuals are already the target of a criminal investigation, and it has requested information and documents from at least 40 other people.
The ‘Saturday Age’ is not suggesting all the Australians who appear in the offshore data and which it has named have been involved in illegality as taxpayers can hold offshore accounts for a number of legitimate reasons, such as facilitating international business transactions.
Among the prominent Australians with offshore companies are David Mortimer, former chairman of Leighton Holdings and Australia Post and former chief executive of TNT.
Celebrated chef Tetsuya Wakuda and Melbourne mining supremo Owen Hegarty have each had companies in the British Virgin Islands, while philanthropist Janet Holmes a Court, once Australia’s richest woman, has previously had a company in the Cook Islands.
A web of offshore structures was also employed by Tim Johnston and other directors of Firepower, which fleeced investors of $100 million with the false promise of a pill that would reduce cars’ fuel consumption.
The documents show corporate criminal Tony Senese incorporated a company in the Cook Islands shortly before being jailed in Melbourne for seven years on 25 charges of false accounting.
Justin Breheny, an executive with insurance giant IAG, used his British Virgin Islands company to buy shares in an unknown company, while Sydney businessman Colin Sim also had interests in offshore companies.
Jefferson and Aileen Cheng, who had criminal charges against them dropped over the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal in the Philippines, also had a complex web of offshore companies.
Colourful businessman Karl Kazal confirmed he set up two offshore companies to handle distribution of hospital equipment from the United Arab Emirates, but said the offshore accounts were never operational.
A West Australian organised crime figure, who cannot be named because he is about to face trial over a major drug importation, is on the list, along with white-collar criminal Tony Senese and Michael Milne, who is serving an 81/2 year jail term for money laundering and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The Sydney businessman was one of the initial targets of Project Wickenby – Kate McClymont, Linton Besser & James Robertson

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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