Billionaire Lowy family caught up in US probe into offshore tax havens

The tax affairs of the founder of the Westfield property empire Frank Lowy and his family are being examined by a US senate committee that is looking at financial institutions located in the tax havens of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The tax affairs of the founder of the Westfield property empire Frank Lowy and his family are being examined by a US senate committee that is looking at financial institutions located in the tax havens of Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Frank Lowy’s son Peter, a US citizen who runs Westfield’s US arm, was due to appear today in Washington before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. But according to a report in The Australian, Peter will miss the meeting due to a previous business commitment.

A lawyer for Peter Lowy released a statement saying the Lowy family has done nothing improper.

According to the senate committee’s website, the investigation “will examine how financial institutions located in offshore tax havens, including Liechtenstein and Switzerland, may be engaged in banking practices that could facilitate, and in some instances have resulted in, tax evasion and other misconduct by US clients.”

According to The Australian, a report from the committee does not suggest the Lowys have evaded US tax, but looks at the family’s use of a Lichtenstein financial institution, LGT Bank.

LGT, which is owned by the tiny country’s ruling family led by Prince Hans-Adam II, has long been known for its extreme secrecy. But this veil was broken when a disgruntled clerk at LGT, Heinrich Kieber, downloaded all the bank’s names and secret accounts on to two CDs and turned them over to tax authorities in the US and Europe.

 

Read more on Westfield and the Lowy family

 

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