Jersey risks advertising itself as a ‘safe haven' for tax evaders if it does not extradite an alleged British fraudster involved in advising Crocodile Dundee actor Paul Hogan, says a lawyer at the hearing.
The Australian government is seeking the extradition of Philip Eric de Figueiredo, the principal of Strachans SA, on charges related to fraud, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, according to reports.
Crown advocate Matthew Jowitt put it to the court, if Jersey authorities choose not to extradite the accountant, the island would look like "a safe haven for tax evaders".
Jersey-based Figueiredo is noteworthy for his clients who include pop stars and top cricketers.
Australian reports have referred to Strachans as a "secretive" company that moved to Geneva from Jersey some years ago, while authorities down under have accused the firm of allowing its clients to artificially reduce their taxes by claiming expenses and diverting money to offshore trusts.
His arrest in January was hailed by the Australian government as successful international co-operation and a major coup for the Aus$300m Operation Wickenby tax fraud investigation. So far this has reaped over $84m and uncovered a further $265m in unpaid taxes as well as leading to 28 people being charged and three convicted.
Jowitt rejected claims made by the defendant's lawyer at the hearing that sending the 56-year-old to Australia would send "shock waves" through the finance industry.
He believes by not taking action, Jersey risks marketing itself as sympathetic to those who abuse international tax regimes.
A decision on the extradition is expected later today.
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