Friday, February 14, 2014
Laptop The new Bottom Harbour
When Philip Egglishaw last visited Sydney and Melbourne, he left behind a who's who and how-to guide to tax avoidance. John Garnaut reports.
Philip Egglishaw, chartered accountant and international tax planning man of mystery, visited his well-to-do Sydney clients at the Sheraton on the Park in November 2003.
He must have been jet-lagged by the punishing global travel program, for he left behind what have become key documents for Operation Wickenby, Australia's largest and most ambitious tax evasion crackdown.
Investigator Ian Andrew of the Australian Crime Commission entered Egglishaw's room on November 4, after Egglishaw had checked out. He found three crucial documents and asked hotel staff to hand them over, which they did.
Each bore the double "S" emblem of Egglishaw's firm, Strachans, and a print by a 19th-century Jersey oil painter against the firm's distinctive pin-striped backdrop.
The first document is headed Trusts: A Simple Concept. It tells how to establish an effective "blind" and "mobile" trust - one which is instantly transferable between tax havens and where the trustees act on instructions from beneficiaries without recording or disclosing any link.
Three months later he arrived in Melbourne from Los Angeles. On that day - February 14, 2004 - Crime Commission agents were again waiting but this time made their presence known. They searched his hotel room and seized a number of documents. Crucial Laptop