Paul Hogan’s five-year battle with the Australian Crime Commission over the use of offshore tax havens has ended, with the Crime Commission deciding to discontinue its criminal investigation of the iconic entertainer.
ACC chief executive John Lawler announced that the investigation into Hogan and long-time collaborator and business partner John “Strop” Cornell was dumped because it was unlikely to result in a conviction.
“On the material presently available to the ACC, including documents recently obtained as a result of overseas enquiries, the ACC has concluded that there are insufficient prospects of securing convictions to justify continuing with its investigation at this time,” Lawler said in a statement.
The ACC said the decision had been made in consultation with the Australian Taxation Office’s Project Wickenby taskforce.
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However, Lawler did fire a parting shot at Hogan and his legal team, claiming that the delay in prosecuting the case had been in part a result of “a clear strategy by those being investigated to legally challenge the ACC’s attempt to establish the facts in the case”.
Lawler also noted the completion of the criminal investigation does not mean Hogan is off the hook in terms of “other administrative action” – most notably from the ATO.
Earlier this year, the ATO issued orders preventing Hogan from leaving Australia over a $300 million tax bill.
Hogan, who has disputed the bill, says he does not have the money to repay the debt claimed by the ATO.
Hogan’s lawyer Andrew Robinson said Hogan and Cornell are “looking forward to resolving any outstanding issues” with the ATO.