Operation Wickenby: Arrest warrant issued for Swiss-based mastermind behind tax evasion scheme

Australia’s biggest ever tax evasion probe is closing in on Philip Jepson Egglishaw, the alleged architect of a massive offshore tax evasion scheme.

Australia’s biggest ever tax evasion probe is closing in on the alleged architect of a massive offshore tax evasion scheme, with an arrest warrant being issued for Philip Jepson Egglishaw, who is based in Switzerland.

The move comes more than a decade after the launch of the multi-agency Project Wickenby taskforce, which has claimed the scalps of actor Paul Hogan and music entrepreneur Glenn Wheatley.

The Australian reports the hunt for Egglishaw was revealed yesterday in the Queensland Supreme Court hearing of Philip de Figueiredo, who has pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.

De Figueiredo is a former business associate of Egglishaw and his barrister Phil Dunn QC told Queensland Supreme Court judge Debra Mullins that authorities in Switzerland were blocking Australia’s bid to extradite Egglishaw.

“In Switzerland, as the situation is, deprivation of revenue or fiscal crimes, as I understand it are viewed differently by the Swiss authorities, which is why for example, Mr Egglishaw, despite an arrest warrant, is not being extradited by the Swiss to Australia,” Dunn said, according to the newspaper.

Operation Wickenby has received hundreds of millions in funding over the past two years to help track down evaders and recover over $1 billion in lost tax revenue.

In last year’s federal budget the Australian Tax Office shared in a further $76.8 million in funding to step up Operation Wickenby.

However, the operation was dealt a blow earlier this year when two targets, former Gadens Lawyers employees Ross Edward Seller and Patrick David McCarthy, walked away from prosecution after it was found their trial had been mishandled by authorities.

The ATO and Australian Federal Police declined to comment to SmartCompany as the court proceedings are continuing.

De Figueiredo will be sentenced today.

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