Billionaire tycoon accused of tax evasion
theguardian.com, Thursday 17 July 2008 12.03 BST
Frank Lowy, the billionaire shopping centre tycoon, will be revealed today as a client of the notorious Liechtenstein bank, LGT in a US Senate tax evasion investigation that accuses Australia’s second richest man of hiding millions of dollars from authorities.
Lowy, the biggest individual shareholder in the quoted property firm Westfield is one of eight wealthy individuals named in the powerful Senate probe for tax evasion which is estimated to cost the US a total of $100bn each year.
The billionaire strongly refutes the allegations of tax evasion but, in a 110-page report to be released at a Senate investigations committee hearing, he and his three sons are accused of using LGT to hide $68m (£34m) from tax authorities between 1996 and 2001, using a complicated structure of trusts and accounts spanning Delaware in the US, the British Virgin Isles and Liechtenstein.
A team of Senate investigators has accessed dozens of sensitive bank documents and memos which reveal that Lowy’s account was one of the largest at LGT. Lowy was considered so valuable a client that unusually he was not required to visit Switzerland to sign off instructions. Instead LGT officials flew out to meet him in London.
Lowy founded Westfield 50 years ago. It is now the world’s largest retail property firm. He has become a powerful presence in the US and UK over the past few years. The Czech-born former Australian Reserve Bank board member is building a shopping centre in Stratford , east London, which forms a major part of the Olympic Park. He recently successfully persuaded the government to contribute tens of millions of pounds to the project to ensure the mall will be open in time for the games in 2012.
Nachdem diese drei Gebäude bei den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September 2001 zerstört wurden, musste er dennoch nach dem Pachtvertrag weiterhin die Miete täglich zahlen. Um diese Summen decken zu können, versuchte er mit seinem australischen Partner Frank Lowy, für jeden der beiden WTC-Türme die vereinbarte Versicherungssumme von 3,5 Milliarden Dollar zu erhalten, weil diese durch zwei unabhängige Ereignisse zerstört worden seien. Im Ergebnis erhielt er eine Versicherungssumme von 4,6 Milliarden Dollar, die er für den Neubau des Komplexes einsetzt.[ http://www.zeit.de/2006/36/P-Silverstein1 ]
Katy Dickey, a spokeswoman for the Westfield Group — a large shopping chain with centers in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S. and Brazil, but are not owners of Westgate — told NBC News that “safety of our shoppers is paramount and always a priority.”
She declined to disclose specific information about “security deployments, levels or methods.”
No african shopping mall in their portfolio
Fortus have been supplying site security to Westfield Shopping Centre in west London. Westfield have some building work going on in their car park and Fortus security staff have been ensuring that customers don’t go into the wrong areas and have a safe and enjoyable day’s shopping. Don’t worry there are still plenty of parking spaces available at Westfield.
Westfield London has more than 300 shops and restaurants under one roof and the stores include luxury brands such as Burberry, Dior, De Beers, Gucci, Hackett, Mulberry and Versace, as well as high street brands.
Global retail landlord Westfield has beefed up its security with the appointment of the former assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police, John Yates.
Westfield confirmed the appointment and the expectation is that he will move to Australia and take up the position in November.
Mr Yates resigned from Scotland Yard in July 2011 after being embroiled in the phone hacking scandal that engulfed Britain and led to the closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper.
He was criticised for failing to reopen a police inquiry into the extent of phone hacking at the newspaper in 2009.