Uncategorized

‘Fraud’: Extraordinary $3.5m tax judgment


The company behind Nudie Juice has been ordered to pay millions of dollars after it was found to have fraudulently won a court case.

The Albanese government is determined to introduce more fairness into the taxation arrangements and a “critical part” of this will be “digging down” on tax avoidance, says Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones. “Nobody wants to pay tax but we’ve got to ensure that we’ve got a system that is fair and efficient,” Mr Jones told Sky News Australia. “A big thing that I’m focused on is ensuring that we can show to Australians that under the existing rules, every Australian is paying what they ought to be paying.”

Federal Court Justice Melissa Perry ruled in favour of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in June last year after it found a decision made by the Full Federal Court of Australia 10 years ago which ruled in favour of the Binetter family’s company, Rawson Finance, was obtained by fraud.

Rawson Finance was the only respondent in the civil proceedings before Justice Perry.

Andrew Binetter was company secretary and director of Rawson responsible for the tribunal, Federal Court and Full Federal Court proceedings.

Sydney’s Binetter family founded the Nudie Juice empire.Rawson Finances was found to have been involved in “extraordinary deceit and subterfuge involving a multitude of overseas accounts and highly suspicious and unexplained transactions of labyrithal complexity”.

Justice Perry found that then secretary and director Andrew Binetter was responsible for multiple court proceedings and knew about the nature of back-to-back loan agreements made in 1997 with three Israeli banks worth $4.75m.

The court has now handed down the order that Rawson must repay the ATO around $3.56m in legal costs for the proceedings as well as the Tax Commissioner’s fees incurred in the costs application on an indemnity basis. The latter amount comprises costs of $38,000.

The ATO had been investigating Rawson Finance and other Binetter family entities about international loans worth $75m suspected of being used to avoid tax.

Justice Perry found that Rawson had “admitted the existence of the back-to-back deposit accounts held in code names with Israeli banks for the first time” and had “positively put forward a knowingly false case”.

She agreed with the Commissioner’s argument that the loans were “in fact secured by secret cash deposits” not by personal guarantees from the business, which Rawson had argued.

“Rawson, through Andrew, ran a case known to be false and misleading in the Tribunal and pressed that case on appeal to the Federal Court and the Full Court,” Justice Perry wrote in her judgment.

“Indeed Andrew himself gave patently false evidence to the tribunal. It is therefore no overstatement to say that the evidence establishes highly egregious and fraudulent conduct by Rawson, through Andrew, in the case run in the AAT and the Federal Court.”

The lengthy court battle between the ATO and Rawson began in 2003 when the Australian Crime Commission seized the laptop of a Geneva-based banker, leading to the launch of a special task force with the tax office to tackle international tax avoidance in 2006.

The ATO pursued the company for nearly a decade. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

The ATO then launched a tax assessment of Rawson in 2009, which the company successfully appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The ATO then appealed that decision after Mr Binetter’s brother Ron and sister-in-law Deborah Huber testified against the family.

They alleged another Binetter brother, Michael, asked Ms Huber to translate Hebrew at a meeting in Israel where he described the back-to-back loan scheme.

The ATO then successfully applied to have the Rawson decision overturned on the basis it was obtained by fraud.

“Rawson, through Andrew, ran a case known to be false and misleading in the Tribunal and pressed that case on appeal to the Federal Court and the Full Court,” Justice Perry wrote in her judgment.

“Indeed Andrew himself gave patently false evidence to the tribunal. It is therefore no overstatement to say that the evidence establishes highly egregious and fraudulent conduct by Rawson, through Andrew, in the case run in the AAT and the Federal Court.”



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button