Australia's Tax Office is investigating Paul Hogan, star of the "Crocodile Dundee" films, on suspicion of funneling millions in royalties from his films into illegal tax havens.
According to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, Hogan, his producer John Cornell and some of their family members are suspected of using credit and debit cards to withdraw royalty income from hidden Swiss trusts -- without making the appropriate declarations on Australian tax returns.
The Tax Office has linked the pair's tax dealings to an adviser and principal at Strachans, a Swiss firm of tax haven specialists. A portion of the men's film royalties is thought to have initially been sent to Chile and the Netherlands Antilles, in the Caribbean. The tax authority believes Twentieth Century Fox, which licensed rights to the Dundee films outside the United States, and which is owned by Rubert Murdoch's News Corp., may have brokered similar arrangements for other Hollywood stars.
Hogan has not spoken publicly about the charges, and the paper reported that the actor is believed to have moved with his family to the United States. A representative for Hogan and Cornell has previously said that any failure to meet Australian tax obligations was the result of ignorance, not dishonesty, meaning that the men would be more likely to face restitution and fines, rather than criminal charges.
In a statement, Cornell, who also co-starred with Hogan in an Australian show in the 1970s and 1980s, said that he and Hogan were advised to move to Hong Kong in 1986 to pay a 15 percent tax on the royalities, instead of Australia's 60 percent rate, but both men elected to stay down under and pay the higher rate.
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