Taxman bars Crocodile Dundee from leaving Australia

Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:50am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Actor Paul Hogan, best known for playing an outback hunter in the "Crocodile Dundee" movies, has been stopped from leaving Australia until he pays a multi-million dollar tax bill, according to his lawyer.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) served U.S.-based Hogan with a departure prohibition order when he returned to Sydney last Friday for the funeral of his 101-year-old mother Florence, his lawyer Andrew Robinson said in a statement.

This prevents the 70-year-old actor from leaving Australia until any alleged tax debts are paid or arrangements made for the tax liability to be discharged.

"He is stunned and very disappointed that the government could treat him as a flight risk," said Robinson.

"He denies the liability asserted by the ATO and has filed objections which have not been the subject of any response from the ATO. He will continue to defend his position through all available legal and other channels."

Hogan is under investigation as part of a nationwide tax fraud probe over allegations that he put tens of millions of dollars in film royalties in offshore tax havens, a claim that he has denied, saying he had "paid plenty of tax" in Australia.

The tax office was reported to have served Hogan with an amended tax bill last month for tax on $37.6 million of undeclared income after a five-year long fight.

A spokesman from the ATO declined to comment.

"As he is an individual taxpayer, we can make no comment," the spokesman told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>Actor Paul Hogan is pictured in an undated publicity photo from "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles,". REUTERS/Jasin Boland/Paramount Picture</p>