LAST_UPDATESun, 24 Jun 2018 9pm

Aust Govt Moves To Strike Out Lawsuit By M'sian Tycoon Over RM160 Mil Tax Evasion Charges

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian tycoon's bid to challenge the Australian government for seizing his properties in Australia worth millions was presented for case management this morning at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

However, the tycoon's lawsuit has been countered by the Australian government move to strike it out, claiming they have 'sovereign immunity' to prosecute the tycoon on Australian shores.

Sibu-born Sir Hii Yii Ann was previously charged by the Australian government for tax evasion amounting to A$50 mil (RM160 mil).

The case was discussed privately in the judge's chambers with attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defendants present. According to a statement from lawyers representing the plaintiff, the Australian government is asking to strike out the suit brought by Sir Hii.

Speaking to the plaintiff's lawyer, post-hearing, Mohd Rizal Yakub stresses that his client holds a Malaysian passport and IC -- in which any issues related to tax should rightfully be issued by the Malaysian government instead of the Australian government.

Mohd Rizal further explains, "If there is any tax-filling involved, it should be done by the Malaysian government and not the Australian government.

"Whatever information they (Australian government) have, should be shared with the Malaysian government and should not be hoarded," he added.

He further highlights that, as a response against the ordinary suit the plaintiff had issued; the Australian government had issued a striking out on the basis of 'sovereign immunity'.

Currently, the Australian government have filled for an extension of leave from the court to reply to the plaintiff's affidavit.

Going forward, Mohd Rizal explains that he is still waiting for his client's instructions. The case hearing is expected to be on 6 December at 2pm.

In his lawsuit filed in September, 56-year-old Sir Hii had named the Australian deputy commissioner of taxation, the commissioner of taxation, and the Australian government as the defendants, The Mole reports.

Sir Hii claimed the Australian government had incorrectly recorded his international income -- as opposed to calculating the income made and declared in Australia leading to the government seizing all his properties including his palatial home in Hamilton district , as well as 330 hectares of vacant rural land in Lyons on Brisbane’s southern fringe, in the highly publicised 'seize and sell' case which made headlines.

The Australian Taxation Office was granted extraordinary powers by the Australian Supreme Court earlier this year to put all Sir Hii's property into caveat, effectively freezing them, Adelaide Now reports.

According to the Australian daily, freezing his assets means Sir Yii’s debt, which began in May 2015 at A$59.8 million has now ballooned to almost A$67 million with the total owing growing by A$13,000 every day it remains unpaid.

The father of five has recently sold his seafront bungalow in Singapore in October for A$26m.

The Australian government's move made international headlines as according to media reports, the authorities forced the sale of a total of 16 foreign-owned properties which according to Australia's Treasurer, Scott Morrison, was bought without the permission of the Australian government -- including that of Sir Hii Yii's.

Morrison was quoted in media reports as stating that "foreign investment in Australia occurs on Australia's terms".