Actor Paul Hogan, known in the U.S. for his 1980s role as "Crocodile Dundee" in the movies, has been slapped with a multimillion-dollar tax bill. The actor, who turns 70 later this year, has been under investigation both in his native Australia and in the U.S. amid claims that Hogan was shifting money offshore in an effort to avoid taxation.
Hogan, who claims that he has paid at least $100 million in taxes to Australia and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), refuses to pay more. That presents a problem, since the ATO claims he still owes millions on undeclared income. As a result, he's now considered a flight risk and has been barred from leaving Australia until he pays up.
The battle between Hogan and authorities in Australia has gone on for five years. Initially a civil tax matter, Hogan is now being investigated by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) as part of "Operation Wickenby", a massive tax fraud investigation, though no criminal charges have yet been filed. Also targeted in the investigation are Hogan's accountant and film producer, John Cornell, who used to manage Hogan's career. Cornell is known mostly for his writing and producing in the "Crocodile Dundee" film series.
Hogan recently lost a battle to keep his finances private as part of the investigation. The ACC, however, wants to see the documents, claiming they were "made in the furtherance of a crime or fraud" or are "evidence of" a crime or fraud. Publication of the documents was initially blocked in federal court after Hogan appealed, but that ruling was challenged; Hogan then went to Australia's high court with his claim. That court eventually dismissed Hogan's appeal, paving the way for the release and publication of the records. Details of Hogan's financial transactions are said to be the key element in the ACC investigation.
For the most part, Hogan has avoided dealing with authorities in the matter, leaving that to his attorneys. Rather than focus on the investigation in Australia, he has remained in the United States with his immediate family. However, following the death of his 101-year-old mother, Hogan returned to Australia for the funeral. While there, he was served with a Departure Prohibition Order by the Australian Taxation Office, which prevents him leaving the country until his tax debt is paid or settled. His family, including wife Linda Kozlowski (they met on the set of Crocodile Dundee) and 12-year-old son, Chance, remain in the United States.
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