Australian officials probe 'Crocodile Dundee' star Hogan's tangled finances

Complex trail of accounts from Chile to the Caribbean uncovered in wide-ranging Crime Commission investigation

This time, however, the actor Paul Hogan, a former rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge who made good, is starring in a real-life drama, as the larrikin adventurer has become embroiled in a tax avoidance investigation - a long way from when "Hoges", as he is known in Australia, became a national mascot.

His 1986 film Crocodile Dundee, which he made with his business partner John "Strop" Cornell, became an international hit and took $350m (£190m). In those heady days the former prime minister, Bob Hawke, declared on a trip to the US that he was from "Crocodile Dundee country".

The star and his homeland capitalised on the rugged individualist who was an emblem of every suburban Aussie's outback fantasies. But times change: despite Mr Hogan's iconic "throw another shrimp on the barbie" advertisements, which were credited with doubling the number of American tourists Down Under in four years, he has become a remote figure in his own land. Nor is the investigation giving him the kind of publicity he would like.

It is claimed that millions of pounds of royalties were paid over by 20th Century Fox, the Hollywood studio, to an array of tax structures stretching from Chile to the Antilles. Mr Hogan and his family, it is said, drew funds from automatic teller machines using cards issued by banks in the tax havens. According to reports, the secretive Australian Crime Commission, which has controversial coercive examination powers, wants to question the actor about the arrangements and look into his bank statements, credit cards and computer records.

A spokesman refused to comment, but the commission's website reveals relevant details of Australia's largest investigation into offshore money laundering and tax fraud, suggesting Mr Hogan may not be alone in the inquiry.

"Subsequent intelligence and information led to the establishment of Operation Wickenby, which has identified numerous promoters and participants, including a number of prominent Australians, who are utilising offshore services to avoid tax liabilities," it says.

While Mr Hogan has not commented on the reports, a source, quoted as speaking on his behalf, said any failure to pay tax was a result of ignorance rather than dishonesty. He said the investigation was most likely examining the role of Mr Hogan's tax advisers and not the star himself, and that the advisers might not have understood Australia's complex tax laws.

The commission is investigating links between Mr Hogan and two brothers, Philip and Richard Egglishaw, who work for Strachans, a Swiss firm of tax haven specialists which is understood to be the main focus of Operation Wickenby. It is alleged that a large proportion of Mr Hogan's royalties ended up offshore in tax havens administered by Strachans, and that the labyrinthine structures included secret trusts that did not appear to disclose the ultimate controller or beneficiary.

In the wake of the success of the first Crocodile Dundee, Mr Hogan divorced his wife of 30 years, Noelene, and married his American co-star, Linda Kozlowski. He keeps a lavish mansion in the hip Australian beachside retreat of Byron Bay, but spends long periods in Los Angeles. His later films, which included two more episodes in the Crocodile Dundee franchise, proved much less popular at the box office, although the recent small Australian film Strange Bedfellows, in which he pretends to be gay to take advantage of tax laws, proved a local hit.

For his own part, Mr Hogan has always claimed to be unambitious - a "lazy bugger", in his own words. But he has also been known for his business acumen and enjoyment of success.

"I'm not the little Aussie battler anymore," he said in 1996. "If I can have a Rolls-Royce, I'll have a Rolls-Royce. That's the whole point of it."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas