Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lowy's 1995 Canberra Deal

SMH follows up on that old story:
The Tax Office file was passed to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, who initiated an investigation into possible corporate and tax offences.

Investigators combed the world to trace the money trail.

They believed it originated in the US, where Westfield had completed its first large international acquisition at Garden State Plaza in New Jersey in 1986.

Investigators suspected the money was moved from the US through Caribbean and Liechtenstein tax havens to Sydney but they received little co-operation from US authorities and could not penetrate Liechtenstein's bank secrecy laws.

In May 1995 the Chatswood office's deputy commissioner Jan Brady received a call from Canberra to say the case had been settled for $25 million, roughly the amount of primary tax that should have been paid on the original $48 million deposit without any penalties.

According to Jill Margo's biography Frank Lowy: Pushing The Limits, Mr Lowy "was flooded with relief at being saved from having to defend himself in a public court". The DPP eventually dropped its investigation for lack of evidence.
What's the bet Westfield made some very large political donations ahead of the 1996 elections?