• Media releases and major announcements

    The government and Project Wickenby agencies have issued a number of media releases, speeches and responses to the media over the life of the project.

    Prosecution media releases are published on our website to highlight the consequences of failing to comply with tax and superannuation obligations. We believe that six months is an adequate period of time to communicate that message and therefore over time prosecution media releases will be removed.

    Media releases and announcements by year

    2013

    10 May 2013 No safe havens

    The tax commissioners from Australia, the United States and United Kingdom have substantial new data which reveals extensive use of complex offshore structures by wealthy individuals and companies to conceal assets.

    2012

    15 May 2012 Company directors sentenced under Project Wickenby 

    The courts continue to send a strong message about their low tolerance for tax cheats by imposing significant jail terms.

    3 May 2012 Second arrest for dealing in $63 million in proceeds of crime (joint ATO and AFP media release)

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has today charged a second man with conspiring to dishonestly cause a loss to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and conspiring to deal in the proceeds of crime to the value of $63 million as part of an ongoing Project Wickenby investigation.

    26 April 2012 $40 million in assets restrained, tax evasion and money laundering scheme dismantled (joint ATO and AFP media release)

    As part of Project Wickenby, the Australian Federal Police has charged a man with conspiring to dishonestly cause a loss to the Australian Tax Office and conspiring to deal in the proceeds of crime to the value of $63 million, dismantling a multi-million dollar tax evasion and money laundering scheme.

    7 March 2012 The Wickenby deterrence 

    Two recent Project Wickenby-related court cases have reinforced community expectations that serious tax fraud should be treated sternly and appropriately, Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo said today.

    9 February 2012 Administration of Project Wickenby (Australian National Audit Office report)

    The ATO welcomes the ANAO's findings after conducting a performance audit into the administration of Project Wickenby. The report was tabled in Parliament today making four recommendations, which are all agreed to by the ATO.

    2011

    2 March 2011 One billion and counting: Wickenby reaches milestone 

    Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo announced Project Wickenby has reached a new milestone in its fight against tax crime, with one billion dollars in tax liabilities raised since 2006.

    2010

    9 November 2010 Man to face court for operating tax avoidance scheme worth $2.7 million (AFP media release)

    A 45-year-old Runaway Bay man is scheduled to face Southport Magistrates Court today, charged with tax fraud offences which have allegedly caused a loss to the Commonwealth of $2.7 million.

    30 April 2010 ASIC obtains consent orders in Queensland Supreme Court External Link(ASIC advisory)

    ASIC has obtained consent orders against an individual alleging he failed to comply with financial services law as he has conducted a financial services business without an Australian financial services licence (AFSL).

    15 April 2010 Two years for Sydney lawyer guilty of tax fraud External Link(Australian Crime Commission media release)

    On 15 April 2010, a prominent Sydney solicitor was sentenced to two years jail for his part in a $400,000 false invoice tax fraud using secrecy havens.

    14 April 2010 ATO stepping up efforts to combat tax havens 

    The ATO today announced it has requested information from banks which it will use to identify Australian taxpayers who may have undisclosed offshore income or over-claimed deductions involving international transactions.

    2009

    20 October 2009 Anti-tax evasion strategy paying major dividendsExternal Link (Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry).

    Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, today announced the national strategy aimed at stamping out tax evasion is reaping dividends for the Australian community.

    22 July 2009 Tax crackdown nets $313 million in 2008–09External Link (Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry).

    Two high-profile tax crackdowns have this past financial year raised more than $313 million in tax liabilities and penalties against tax cheats the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, has announced today.

    21 July 2009 ATO submission to US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 

    The ATO response to a US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs request for Australian case studies showing the use of entities incorporated under the laws of some states in the United States of America.

    30 June 2009 Did you know? Not a penny more (speech, Commissioner of Taxation, Michael D’Ascenzo)

    30 June 2009 Australia Endorses Ongoing Global efforts to Combat Tax Avoidance and Evasion External Link(Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry)

    The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry, today confirmed that following the Second Conference on the Fight against International Tax Fraud and Evasion held in Berlin, Germany, the Rudd Government continues to strongly support the tough global position against tax evasion taken by the 19 participant countries.

    13 May 2009 Federal Budget 2009–10: Commissioner’s message to staff (online update, Commissioner of Taxation)

    10 February 2009 Another 12 charged under Project Wickenby (AFP media release)

    Twelve people will face Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney today as a result of an investigation into a $10 million offshore tax evasion and money laundering scheme.

    2008

    31 October 2008 Response to a number of reports regarding Project Wickenby investigations (ATO letter to the editor)

    Recent media reports suggest the ATO leaked information about investigations relating to the Project Wickenby task force. Allegations of this nature seem to be almost routinely made in relation to the ATO and Project Wickenby but to date none of the claims have been substantiated.

    28 October 2008 Working together to combat tax haven abuse (online update, Commissioner of Taxation)

    12 August 2008 Third arrest over multi-million dollar tax fraud (AFP media release)

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged a 56-year-old man over a multi-million dollar offshore tax avoidance scheme.

    23 July 2008 Response to article in Weekend Australian, 22 July 2008 (ATO letter to the editor)

    We refer to Susannah Moran’s article in The Australian on 22 July 2008 regarding Project Wickenby.

    17 July 2008 ATO submission to US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 

    The ATO provided this submission to the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for a hearing into tax haven banks and US tax compliance conducted by their Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on 17 July 2008.

    July 2008 Dirty Sexy Money – The Wickenby net widens External Link

    So far it has uncovered more than $60 million in proceeds of crime, caught some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals in its net and sent a clear message that Australia does not tolerate tax evasion, but Project Wickenby is only just hitting its stride.

    7 May 2008 Tax Commissioner warns against using tax evasion arrangements in Vanuatu 

    Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo issued a taxpayer alert today warning people against hiding income or assets offshore.

    28 April 2008 Project Wickenby dismantles $100 million money laundering scheme (AFP media release)

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) today arrested and charged a 58-year-old man over a $100 million offshore money laundering scheme, the third major arrest by members of the Project Wickenby task force.

    13 March 2008 A fair and effective tax and superannuation system (speech, Commissioner of Taxation, Michael D’Ascenzo)

    13 March 2008 Tax Commissioner warns against hiding income or assets offshore 

    Tax Commissioner, Michael D’Ascenzo, issued a taxpayer alert today warning people against hiding income or assets offshore.

    29 February 2008 Sydney entrepreneur arrested in Australia's largest tax fraud investigation (AFP media release)

    The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested and charged a 52-year-old Sydney businessman over an alleged multi-million-dollar off-shore tax evasion scheme.

    2007

    14 August 2007 Project Wickenby progress External Link(Treasurer, Peter Costello and the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston)

    The Treasurer, Peter Costello, and the Minister for Justice and Customs, David Johnston, today announced that Project Wickenby has made significant progress on a number of fronts, consistent with the strategy announced by the Government in February 2006. Project Wickenby is a multiagency task force investigating and prosecuting internationally promoted schemes to avoid or evade Australian taxes and launder money.

    19 July 2007 First conviction under Operation Wickenby External Link(PDF, 26.7KB) (Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston).

    Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston today acknowledged Operation Wickenby’s first conviction in to tax evasion as an important milestone for the Australian Government’s crackdown against corporate crime.

    14 March 2007 The business of adding public value (speech, Commissioner of Taxation, Michael D’Ascenzo)

    2006

    29 August 2006 Project Wickenby 

    Agencies involved in Project Wickenby routinely analyse press articles to assure themselves there has been no inappropriate release of information.

    17 August 2006 Wickenby information sharing and broader tax secrecy review External Link(Treasurer, Peter Costello)

    New legislation to be introduced in Parliament will help agencies involved in Project Wickenby to better share information to aid concerted law enforcement.

    20 July 2006 Project Wickenby arrests External Link(Treasurer, Peter Costello)

    Three people have been arrested today by the Australian Crime Commission and charged with tax evasion offences.

    30 June 2006 Operation Wickenby Federal Court ruling welcomed by Minister External Link(PDF, 35.6KB) (Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison)

    The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, has welcomed today’s ruling by the Federal Court in Egglishaw v. ACC that enables the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to use the contents of a laptop computer seized by the ACC as part of Operation Wickenby in February 2004, which is believed to be Australia’s largest tax fraud investigation.

    19 May 2006 Ongoing Operation WickenbyExternal Link (Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Christopher Ellison).

    The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, has welcomed today’s High Court ruling relating to what is believed to be Australia’s largest tax fraud investigation, Operation Wickenby.

    8 February 2006 Government provides extra funds to combat tax scams External Link(Treasurer, Peter Costello)

    The Treasurer today announced that the Government would provide an additional $305 million over the next six years to further resource a multi-agency operation directed at promoters of and participants in off-shore tax schemes and fraud.

    8 February 2006 New funds for fight against serious tax fraud and money laundering External Link(PDF, 19.07KB) (Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Christopher Ellison)

    The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, today welcomed an announcement by the Treasurer of an extra $305 million in funding for the fight by Australian law enforcement agencies against serious tax fraud and money laundering.

    2005

    10 June 2005 ATO acts on offshore schemes

    Over the last two days the ATO has acted on information suggesting that individuals have entered into offshore schemes directed at creating fictitious deductions or concealing income from tax. The schemes rely on the use of offshore structures put in place by scheme promoters.

    10 June 2005 Australian Crime Commission uncovers alleged fraud against the Commonwealth External Link (PDF, 34.6KB) (Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Christopher Ellison)

    The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, today applauded the efforts of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the ATO and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in targeting those who have allegedly committed major fraud against the Commonwealth.

      Last modified: 10 Sep 2014QC 22385