Australian businessman sentenced to 8.5 years for Money Laundering

An Australian businessman has been sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in jail in the New South Wales Supreme Court. This decision was made after the businessman was convicted of money laundering and tax fraud.

After a 5-week trial which followed investigations into the use of offshore tax structures under Project Wickenby, Michael Milne was found guilty on November 19. He was found guilty of offences related to money laundering and tax evasion. The crime involved the use of an offshore tax haven structure.

The offshore tax haven structure hid assets and income in a complicated series of transactions that involved Swiss and Dutch entities. So, it allowed evading tax payable on a capital gain of more than AUD 7.5 million.

According to Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo, tax evasion through the use of illegal offshore tax haven schemes is unfair to businessmen and the community who do the right thing. So, the sentencing showed the seriousness of tax evasion. He said that “this result serves as a clear warning to people who use offshore structures to defraud the tax system that they face significant consequences for their actions”.

Mr D’Ascenzo said: “Every defrauded tax dollar means less funding for community services including health, education and other government funded programs. This result serves as a clear warning to participants and promoters of illegal offshore schemes that they face significant and very serious consequences for their actions.”

Project Wickenby is a cooperative partnership between the ATO, Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, with support from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, the Australian Government Solicitor and the Attorney-General’s Department.

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