Michael Pascoe: Professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

Michael Pascoe: Professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

“The key lesson from WA Inc was that the shonks, crooks, spivs and conmen only really thrive with the assistance of the professional classes – the accountants, lawyers, valuers, journalists et al.

“It took at least a culture of acquiescence and, more likely, one of mercenary complicity for the likes of Bond and Connell to prosper.”

I wrote those paragraphs 14 years ago in a chapter on another WA-based fraud story, the Firepower scandal.

They are resurrected in light of Rio Tinto settling its tax avoidance bill with the ATO last month – close enough to $1 billion worth of tax it attempted to dodge on the vast fortune it has made exporting WA iron ore and funnelling the money through its “Singapore marketing hub”.

“Singapore marketing hub” might make it up there with “colourful racing identity” as a useful euphemism.

Michael Pascoe: Professional classes make billion-dollar tax rorts possible

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