The Australian Air Transport Bureau has warned Australians who are hiding money from the authorities that they will feel “grave consequences”.
The Australian Taxation Office has issued a stern warning to Australians who inappropriately remit money abroad, saying the “message is clear to those trying to cheat the system – your secrets are no longer safe”.
The announcement comes after the release of several documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) detailing the secret wealth of globally prominent people amassed through offshore schemes, tax loopholes and, in some cases, money laundering allegations.
About 600 journalists from around the world became known as “Pandora’s Papers” by examining 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies.
Much of the money can be funneled back to offshore tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands or to financial services firms in places like Singapore and Switzerland.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists emphasized that it is not illegal in most countries to own assets abroad or use shell companies to conduct business across national borders.
The cache that was revealed overnight has shed light on the wealth of leaders, including Russian leader Vladimir Putin and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Newspapers accuse Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein of spending $80 million on 15 homes in the United Kingdom and the United States through secret companies. While Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has reportedly not announced that he will use an offshore investment firm to buy a $22 million home in France.
“I didn’t do anything illegal or wrong,” Babis responded in a tweet, describing what was revealed as a libel attempt to influence the upcoming Czech elections.
In all, ICIJ found links between nearly 1,000 companies in the Overseas Committee and 336 senior politicians and government officials, including more than a dozen current heads of state and government, state leaders, ministers, ambassadors, and more.
“I think it often appears that people who can end secrecy abroad can end what is going on and take advantage of it themselves,” ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said in a video accompanying the study.
ATO: The papers are “interesting”
On Monday, the Australian Tax Agency (ATO) deputy commissioner and chair of the Serious Financial Crimes Task Force, Will Day, said the information dumping was “interesting” and that the organization would investigate the Pandora Papers to see if there were any links to Australia.
But he added that the tax office “doesn’t rely on data breaches to do our work.”
“We detect, investigate and deal with offshore tax evasion throughout the year.
“We are well connected both locally and globally in our efforts to combat financial crime. We will definitely look at this data set and compare it with the data we already have to identify potential connections.”
Your secrets are no longer safe.
the master. Day added that just because someone’s name appeared on Pandora’s Papers doesn’t mean they’ve done anything criminal.
“There are a number of legitimate reasons why someone would have an offshore bank account or structure. We know most Australians are doing the right thing.
“However, there are those who are trying to hide their proprietary interests or financial irregularities through outside schemes,” Day said.
The ATO has particularly close relationships with tax authorities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands, as well as cooperation with a number of other agencies, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The tax office said it was able to identify at least $1 billion in additional revenue as a result.
While the Serious Financial Crimes Task Force, led by the Office of Counterterrorism, has raised more than $300 million in funds from criminal activities, including tax evasion abroad.
Mr Day has thrown a bullet through the arcs of Australians who may be trying to simulate some of the nefarious activities revealed in Pandora’s Papers.
“The message is clear to those trying to deceive the system: your secrets are no longer safe and you can expect dire consequences for your actions.
“There is no complicated financial path that is difficult for us to solve.”
– With AFP.
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