BHP Billiton – after its incredible feat of being challenged by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca for compliance breaches in the British Virgin Islands – has turned up as a client of a another tax haven facilitator, the shadowy Dutch group Citco. Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm vilified around the world for promoting tax avoidance via sham tax haven structures is but a bit player in the murky world of “corporate services”, a convenient scapegoat for the rampant global industry of tax dodging. This is not to say Mossack Fonseca has been dragged through the mud undeservingly. It...Read More
Author: Michael West
Opinion piece by George Rozvany In 1964, when Bob Dylan wrote his immortal protest song, ”The times they are a-changin”, the Peoples’ Tax Revolution of today was 52 years away. While many issues have altered little over the years such as whether “a-changin’’ is an actual word or not, attitudes towards multinationals and their advisers are clearly in transition towards greater transparency, accountability and indeed a corporate ethical tax framework. It is not surprising that the strongest “protest” statement came from Apple’s own CEO Tim Cook who described the European Union’s imposition of a $US19.2 billion tax bill on...Read More
The Commonwealth Bank secretly struck a deal with class action lawyers for Storm Financial Group which left victims in a $1 billion claim against the bank with a return of just $34 million. Of that $34 million in compensation for Australia’s most devastating financial scandal, legal fees came to almost $10 million. Emails obtained by michaelwest.com.au show the bank had engaged the victims’ lawyer Stewart Levitt of Levitt Robinson with a “personal restraints” arrangement in October 2010. However, Sean McArdle, the lead litigant in the Storm class action lawsuit against the bank confirmed over the weekend he and other...Read More
The moral of this story is nobody reads the fine print, nobody. Even the person who wrote the fine print probably doesn’t read the fine print, except to check the spelling, and only on instructions from client to lawyer: “We pay you well, just make that fine print is tight”. Yesterday, we established that if you signed up for Bunnings store-card you had agreed to a charge over all your land now and forever. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/bunnings-lowest-acts-are-just-the-beginning/ In the reasonable belief that it was unlikely that Bunnings, a business which sold watering-can nozzles, would have a clause in its store-card contract...Read More
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.