Jailed accountant Vanda Gould has failed successful a defamation suit against the Australian taxation commissioner, Chris Jordan.
In the national court, Gould, a Sydney-based accountant, had claimed that remarks Jordan made astatine the National Press Club successful 2017 defamed him by coating him arsenic having engaged successful the worst benignant of wealth laundering, insider trading and taxation fraud.
On Friday national tribunal justice Richard White said Jordan’s remarks did defame Gould but the commissioner was entitled to marque them due to the fact that helium was responding to attacks connected him and the ATO by Gould and a lawyer who worked for companies linked to Gould.
Gould has ever denied doing thing incorrect successful narration to his activities successful mounting up and helping tally offshore structures for his clients, galore of which progressive an offshore supplier featured successful the Pandora papers, Asiaciti Trust.
He is presently successful jailhouse aft being convicted of attempting to pervert the people of justness by asking a witnesser to springiness mendacious grounds during proceeding of a taxation liability suit successful 2013.
In that case, national tribunal justice Nye Perram recovered that Gould, successful Sydney, secretly controlled a web of offshore companies including a Samoan institution called Hua Wang Bank Berhad. Without making immoderate findings arsenic to wrongdoing, helium referred the lawsuit to national police, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for further investigation.
“The facts I person recovered powerfully suggest wide wealth laundering, taxation fraud of the astir superior benignant and, perchance successful immoderate instances, insider trading,” Perram said successful a December 2014 ruling.
“The behaviour revealed successful this lawsuit is disgraceful.”
At the Press Club appearance, Jordan referred to the Hua Wang Bank case, saying the tribunal “referred the substance for wealth laundering, insider trading and taxation evasion of the worst kind” and that the ruling had been “confirmed by the afloat national court” and “confirmed by the precocious court”.
In the defamation case, helium defended his statements arsenic a just study of a tribunal proceeding.
White said this defence did not use due to the fact that Jordan’s remarks implied that Perram’s remarks astir wealth laundering, taxation fraud and insider trading had been endorsed by the afloat national tribunal and the precocious tribunal erstwhile successful information they were not.
However, White recovered that Jordan’s remarks were protected by “qualified privilege” due to the fact that helium was entitled to support himself from a bid of nationalist attacks by Gould and a barrister who worked for the companies successful the Hua Wang Bank case, John Hyde Page.
These attacks were a 2013 Sydney Morning Herald article successful which Hyde Page compared an ATO taskforce attempting to uncover hidden offshore wealth, Project Wickenby, to the Gestapo, an quality by Hyde Page connected the Alan Jones vigor amusement the pursuing twelvemonth and grounds Gould gave to a parliamentary committee.
“On immoderate tenable view, each of these statements amounted to a important disapproval of the operations of the ATO and of immoderate of its officers and, indirectly, of Mr Jordan arsenic commissioner,” White said successful his judgment.
“They called into nationalist question the methods adopted successful the medication and enforcement of the taxation laws, the integrity of officers of the ATO, and the civilization wrong the ATO.”
He rejected arguments from Gould’s counsel that the ATO had nary estimation to support due to the fact that it was an limb of the government.
“In my view, it should beryllium held that Mr Jordan did person the close and involvement to respond to the attacks connected the ATO,” helium said.
“He is the elder taxation officer, with wide work for the medication of the taxation legislation.”
White besides recovered that Jordan’s statements carried a broader meaning that Gould was dishonest – an allegation Jordan supported with 150 pages of allegations astir the accountant’s behaviour.
“However, I enactment again that this decision is of nary infinitesimal fixed my uncovering that Mr Jordan made the impugned statements connected an juncture of qualified privilege,” helium said.