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Casinos could be used to hide tax money

Fri, Sep 27, 8:17am by Staff Writer

A controversial businessman who had planned on setting down roots in Australia found out that the country prefers that its residents play by the rules.

Calvin Ayre reports that Huang Xiangmo reportedly created intricate business structures to hide his operations and has been called out by the Australian Taxation Office for owing around $140 million in taxes, but will apparently do anything necessary to avoid payment.

To assist in collecting the debt, the ATO is turning to casinos in order to make sure Huang is held accountable.

The ATO asserts that the businessman “intentionally structured his asset holdings in such a fashion so as to delay or hinder recovery by creditors,” according to The Guardian.

It indicates that Huang established trusts and corporate entities to hide the control he had over operations and to be able to understate his income.

The ATO found two offshore bank accounts in his name by reviewing casino records and has already issued a notice to the Star Casino group to turn over any money it may hold on Huang’s behalf.

The Star isn’t the only one that has been targeted by the tax authority.

Similar notices have been sent to Crown in Melbourne and the owner of the Treasury Casino in Brisbane.

Those notices were delivered after a court ordered Huang’s assets frozen last week in order to prevent him from using his connections to liquidate his Australian assets, a move he had reportedly already begun to do.

The ATO had argued, “Mr Huang has significant business operations in China and Hong Kong and so has in place structures and operations that allow him to easily move assets between jurisdictions. As such, Mr Huang has the ‘means’ to frustrate the court’s processes.”

Huang has taken $46 million out of the country since Australia revoked his visa last December.

He has been kept out of the country, even having his residency application withdrawn and has resigned from 17 of 18 directorships he held in Australia.

The 18th company, the Federation of Australian Guangdong Community Limited, has reportedly been removed from trading on the market.

It isn’t known how much money, if any, the casinos may hold on Huang’s behalf.

However, it is apparent that the ATO knows where he’s been and what he’s been doing, and is going to keep monitoring the gambling houses to ensure that any compensation it feels is due will be properly collected, no matter where it finds it.

Alvin Chau banned from entering Australia

Suncity Group chief executive officer Alvin Chau has been banned from entering Australia by the nation’s Home Affairs department, according to a report by Fairfax Media last month.

In the latest of a series of articles investigating alleged links between Crown Resorts and Asian criminal syndicates, Fairfax newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published reports of Chau’s exclusion over the weekend, citing official sources said to have spoken on the condition of anonymity.

They also referred to leaked reports from the Hong Kong Jockey Club in which it is claimed officials were briefed by Australian law enforcement officers in 2017 regarding alleged risks posed by Suncity Group’s controlling entities, including Chau.

However, it is worth noting that much of the recent reporting by the Australian media has focused on Crown’s use of junkets itself as a headline controversy, including references to the casino operator having “devised a strategy” to utilize junkets as a key part of its VIP business.

As previously noted by IAG, this completely overlooks the fact that Crown is far from alone in this pursuit – junkets are employed by gaming operators in a majority of casino-resorts around the world and are a fundamental part of their core business.

Crown issued a strongly worded rebuttal of its own last week in which it also said that none of the recent media reports conveyed the fact that junkets “are an established and accepted part of the operations of international casinos.”

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