Paul Hogan’s (Crocodile Dundee) tax adviser has escaped with $34 million that he helped Hogan hide in offshore tax havens, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Philip Egglishaw, also known as the “bowler hat Englishman”, is allegedly behind Australia’s biggest tax evasion scheme, and an international fugitive. Court documents obtained by Le Matin Dimanche state that Hogan's $34 million ''has been lying for almost 20 years in account number 379865 at the Corner Bank in Lausanne'' run by the Geneva firm Strachans. But Hogan cannot get his hands on it.
The actor became suspicious last year when Egglishaw refused to provide any bank statements or accounts relating to the millions in the Carthage Trust. An added problem for Hogan is the other signatory to the Carthage account is in jail in Australia. Philip de Figueiredo pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiring to defraud the Australian government of more than $4 million in tax.
Operation Wickenby, a joint investigation by the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Tax Office, has taken years and cost millions of dollars investigating Egglishaw's and de Figueiredo's Australian clients, including Hogan and his comedy sidekick John ''Strop'' Cornell, said ICIJ.
Egglishaw set up a new trust for Hogan called the Carthage Trust after the Crime Commission and Tax Office began stepping up their inquiries into Hogan in 2005. The trust replaced the Quatre Saison Trust which was alleged to have been a vehicle set up by Strachans to enable Hogan to stream revenue from his Crocodile Dundee franchise into offshore accounts and thereby avoid paying tax. Hogan disputes this.
Late last year, Hogan's representative, Schuyler ''Sky'' Moore, who is listed as the trustee of Hogan's Carthage Trust, launched action against Egglishaw and Strachans in the US. In the Californian court filings, Moore stated he believed Egglishaw had absconded with Hogan's millions, or if he had not, he intended to.
ICIJ reported that Hogan's Australian lawyer Andrew Robinson tried to distance Hogan from the US court proceedings, saying he was ''not a party and gave no evidence by way of affidavit or otherwise'' in the recent case. ''Paul has never denied the existence and operation of overseas structures set up in accordance with competent advice received,'' Robinson said.
The original investigation is on ICIJ.