Author: Michael West

Oligarchs of the Treasure Islands

The “Big Four” global accounting firms – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young – are the masterminds of multinational tax avoidance, the architects of tax schemes which cost governments and their taxpayers more than $US1 trillion a year. Although presenting as “the guardians of commerce” they are unregulated and unaccountable; they have infiltrated governments at every level and should be broken up. This is the view of George Rozvany, Australia’s most published expert on transfer pricing, which is one of the principal ways large corporations pursue cross-border tax avoidance. Rozvany stepped down last year as head of tax...

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Independent Investigative Journalism

Michael West is a Walkley Award-winning journalist who began as a cadet on the Australian Financial Review. After a couple of years in stockbroking, he founded the Margin Call column at The Australian newspaper, worked at News Ltd for eight years followed by another eight years at Fairfax Media variously as a commentator and Business Editor of the Sydney Morning...

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How business lobbyists trump your vote

Today, election day, voters can revel in the knowledge that their elected representatives really are listening to them. It is the natural wonder of polling day. At other times in the electoral cycle, however, the civic downtime if you like, our elected representatives are likely to be bending an ear to lobbyists and party overlords, corporate donors and the agendas of big media. The rise of private power is far more critical to the future of Australians than are the policy tweaks on offer from the major parties in today’s election. Vested interest groups are more prolific and more...

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Coal woes push Peabody Energy to brink

Adani and Shenhua are still pursuing their spanking new coal projects, Walter-Mitty-like, while the financial position of established coal juggernaut Peabody Energy has become ever more parlous. Now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the US coal group just released its first-quarter results, which show losses running at more than $100 million a month. As its pre-tax losses doubled to $US228 million for the three months, its net debt soared to $US462 million. What with the decision of Anglo to pull up stumps and put its coal mines on the market, and with the teetering finances of Peabody, there are definitely some cheap coal...

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How Adidas and its auditors managed to file their accounts late for 16 years

Investigating multinational tax abuses and shoddy compliance by the world’s biggest companies is like shooting gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals in a fish-tank; there is a good chance you are going to hit one. Take sportswear giant Adidas, a company which follows its own counsel to the T; “Nothing is Impossible”. “I’m not just any footballer,” proclaim the slick TV commercials, featuring Lionel Messi and a bevy of the world’s soccer stars. “Mark my words. I’ll be one of the best. I’ll have it all. I’ll be a beast, a creator, uncontrollable, untouchable, legendary …” Indeed. An analysis of 17...

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The countdown is on.

Who will be ranked as Australia’s biggest tax dodger?


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New Michael West Podcast

Created by PodcastOne, this 3 part series looks into how Australia has gone from one of the cheapest countries in the world for energy to one of the most expensive, and reveals just what has happened with our gas and electricity supply and why we are on the verge of an energy crisis.

Listen to THE ENERGY TRUTH on the PodcastOne website