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ATO investigating Aussie business owners for money laundering

James Mitchell
12 November 2021 1 minute readShare
money laundering

The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed it is examining 14 offshore providers named in the Pandora Papers, a leak that exposed over 330 politicians, 130 Forbes billionaires, celebrities, royal family members and religious leaders for hiding their affairs from the authorities.

In October, as the trove of private financial documents hit front pages across the world, the ATO confirmed it would “certainly look” at the data set released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Speaking before a Senate parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday, Will Day, ATO’s deputy commissioner of integrated compliance, confirmed the ATO has taken action.

“The ATO has taken action in relation to those various names and is continuing to do so,” he said.

“We will analyse any data that become available at this point in time that includes the names of 14 offshore service providers.”

The most recent project by the ICIJ, the Pandora Papers data leak comes from 14 entities around the world that give professional services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to incorporate shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in low- or no-tax jurisdictions.

The ICIJ confirmed that the files reveal the deepest financial secrets of hundreds of individuals from influential politicians to pop stars such as Elton John and Ringo Starr.

Commenting on the apparent involvement of a large number of Australians in a series of sizable wrongdoings, Mr Day said last month that there are “a range of legitimate reasons” that someone may have an offshore bank account or structure.

“We know most Australians do the right thing. However, there are some who attempt to hide their ownership interests or financial misdoings through offshore arrangements,” Mr Day said.

ATO investigating Aussie business owners for money laundering
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James Mitchell

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