Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo has reportedly had his Australian assets frozen while the tax office chases him over $140 million. Picture Renee Nowytarger / The Australian
Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo has reportedly had his Australian assets frozen while the tax office chases him over $140 million. Picture Renee Nowytarger / The Australian

ATO targets exiled Chinese billionaire for $140m

CHINESE billionaire Huang Xiangmo has reportedly had his Australian assets frozen while the tax office chases him over $140 million.

The Australian Tax Office sought a court order to freeze the wealthy businessman's assets yesterday over unpaid tax, Nine Newspapers report.

Mr Huang, who is at the centre of a NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption probe into political donations to NSW Labor, is currently in Hong Kong after having his Australian permanent residency and citizenship bid knocked back earlier this year.

He was reportedly hit by the $140 million tax bill on September 11.

Nine reports the ATO's barrister told the Federal Court in Sydney Mr Huang was not accused of fraud or tax evasion, but it was believed he had "grossly understated his income" between 2013 and 2015 and had made "false or misleading statements" in tax returns.

The barrister was also quoted as saying Mr Huang was "evincing an intention to no longer have an association with this country" and the tax office was concerned he would sell or otherwise "encumber" his assets.

 

Huang Xiangmo. Picture Renee Nowytarger / The Australian
Huang Xiangmo. Picture Renee Nowytarger / The Australian

 

THE $140 million tax bill was reportedly mostly capital gains tax accrued by selling a mansion in Hong Kong and a number of smaller "unexplained deposits" in bank accounts.

Justice Anna Katzmann told the court she was "satisfied that an order should be made".

The case will return to court on Friday.

It comes after one of the purported donors at a Chinese Friends of Labor dinner has admitted to ICAC he lied about donating to the NSW ALP and admits he falsified forms declaring his mother had also given cash.

Valentine Yee returned to the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday after being given the weekend to speak with counsel and reconsider the "utterly hard to believe" answers he gave last Thursday.

Mr Yee had said he and his mother gave $5000 each to the Labor Party at the 2015 dinner which raised $100,000, all of which is alleged to have come from banned Chinese property developer Mr Huang.

He also said his mother gave $5000 to Country Labor.

On Monday, Mr Yee said he had been encouraged to lie at Thursday's hearing by his brother Jonathan, the CFL convenor and general manager of the Emperor's Garden Chinese Restaurant.

He had lied for Jonathan's benefit given his Labor links, Mr Yee said. "It's more of a family thing, supporting family ... I understand I've broken a law here, I can totally understand that," Mr Yee told the inquiry.

"But I guess, him being a family member of ours, the Yee family ... family in the tradition of the Chinese is quite important." He also admitted he had falsified his mother's Electoral Commission disclosure form for her $5000 donations for NSW Labor and Country Labor, copying and pasting from his own document.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Yee was reminded by Counsel Assisting the Commission Scott Robertson that lying or providing misleading evidence to ICAC is punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

He said at the time that he and his mother had coincidentally provided the exact same disclosure, almost down to the letter, to the Electoral Commission. ICAC is examining whether Mr Huang was the true source of the $100,000 said to be donated by 12 people in $5000 chunks at the CFL dinner.

Mr Huang was prohibited from making donations to NSW political parties.



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