Accountant in alleged $300m tax scam arrested

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A FORMER Jersey accountant who is alleged to have been behind one of Australia's largest tax scams is believed to have been arrested on the Swiss-Italian border.

Philip Jepson Egglishaw, a former Hautlieu pupil, has been wanted by the country's authorities who claim that he set up a US$300 million network of tax avoidance schemes and lured prominent Australians into them for more than three years.

In 2013, an international arrest warrant was issued for the 63-year-old after it was claimed that Mr Egglishaw stole $34 million which was being held in a Swiss bank account for actor Paul Hogan, star of 1980s film Crocodile Dundee.

Mr Egglishaw has been living in Switzerland and it is thought that local law enforcement had been unwilling to execute the warrant.

However, it has been reported that on 3 May, after trying to leave the country to go on holiday in neighbouring Italy, he triggered an Interpol 'Red Notice', notifying border officials of his wanted status.

Mr Egglishaw was involved in Strachans, an accounting partnership which was previously based in Jersey before relocating to Switzerland. In 2004, while on a visit to Melbourne to meet clients, his laptop – containing details of transactions and offshore trusts – was seized by police, allowing authorities to launch Operation Wickenby, which became one of Australia's largest tax fraud probes.

The high-profile inquiry has so far reclaimed about 2.3 billion Australian dollars in tax liabilities and led to the conviction of 46 people.

According to the red notice, Mr Egglishaw faces a total of ten charges – one of which holds a sentence of 20 years in prison – including conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

His former colleague, St Martin resident Philip de Figueiredo – a director of Strachans – was also caught up in the investigation and in 2010 lost a long-running Royal Court extradition battle. He was later jailed and has since been released.

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