Mastermind in $2.2 Billion Tax Evasion Scam Nabbed

Philip Jepson Egglishaw, the mastermind of an elaborate tax evasion scam, was arrested in Italy early last month on charges related to fraud and money laundering. Egglishaw was one of they players investigated by Project Wickenby. Led by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), it was one of Australia’s largest tax evasion investigations. It ultimately led to the conviction of 46 people and collected $2.2 billion in tax liabilities.

Egglishaw, an accountant, allegedly helped his clients siphon money into offshore trusts to minimize their tax liabilities. In 2004, Australian Federal Police raided the luxury Melbourne hotel room where he was staying and found an extensive list of his clients. This included Entertainment guru Glen Wheatley and Australian comedian Paul Hogan, known for his role in the Crocodile Dundee films. Wheatley was eventually jailed for charges related to tax evasion, pleading guilty to hiding over $300,000 in an offshore account and engaging in fraudulent offshore transactions to conceal his income. Hogan, meanwhile, paid $34 million in fines and back taxes.

Though Egglishaw fled Australia 13 years ago, attempts to arrest and extradite him have proved unsuccessful. He was reportedly living in Geneva, but while the Australian government made multiple requests to Swiss officials to arrest Egglishaw on an outstanding 2008 warrant, they failed to do so. In early June, Italian authorities finally detailed him after he triggered an INTERPOL Red Notice issued by Australian officials. He had reportedly left Switzerland to spend a few days on holiday in Italy and was subsequently detained when he tried to leave the country and return to his home in Geneva.

Egglishaw has previously spoken out and insisted he had only performed legal services for his clients. It is assumed that Egglishaw will not come to Australia willingly and that his extradition may need to be pursued in international court.

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