The Australian crime watchdog has dropped a five-year investigation into actor Paul Hogan‘s tax affairs because there wasn’t a good prospect of securing a conviction.
Hogan’s manager John Cornell, who was also implicated in the multi-million dollar tax evasion case, downed a few celebratory drinks after hearing the news.
“I look forward to sampling some of Strop’s patented hangover cure tomorrow morning,” he said, referring to his famous side-kick character from Hogan’s television days.
But today the drinks were still on ice for the Crocodile Dundee star, who was not in Australia or his adopted home in the US.
“He doesn’t know yet,” said his lawyer Andrew Robinson, adding that he would most likely find out in the morning papers.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) said the case was no longer considered to be in the public interest and there were “insufficient prospects of securing a conviction”.
“This decision has been made following a careful process, including obtaining high-level legal advice on some issues,” it said in a statement.
However, a civil case against the Hollywood star by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) continues.
Hogan was temporarily banned from leaving the country at the request of the ATO, after attending his mother’s funeral.
A two-week standoff ended on September 3 and the 71-year-old was allowed to return to Los Angeles where he lives with his wife Linda Kozlowski and their son Chance.
Despite this, and being labelled a “tax cheat” and “criminal”, Mr Robinson said the actor still loved Australia.
“One thing that has amazed me is how Paul has kept up his love for Australia and support for Australia,” he said, adding his client would be appearing for free in Australia’s World Cup bid.
Hogan has in the past insisted he has already paid too much tax in Australia and is the victim of a witchhunt.
No tax-related charges have ever been laid against Hogan, Cornell or their financial adviser Tony Stewart, and all have denied any wrongdoing.
“I never once saw documents which would to me justify the launching of criminal prosecution against either of them,” Mr Robinson said.
“So as far as I am concerned what happened today is something that would have inevitably happened …
“(But) I don’t think I would hold my breath for an apology from the ACC.”