A Dubai-based couple has refused to return to Australia in order to face cross examination over serious fraud allegations.
Pankaj Oswal, whose ownership of Burrup Fertilisers helped him become one of Australia’s richest men, fled to Dubai in 2010 just before ANZ Bank placed the firm into receivership.
A lawyer for Oswal and his wife, Radhika, said the pair would not travel for a hearing at the Federal Court in Perth, saying that they feared the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) would attempt to detain them indefinitely, The Australian newspaper reported.
The couple left behind a maze of legal disputes. The ATO is pursuing Radhika Oswal for an unpaid tax bill of A$186 million ($132 million).
The six-day case, which begins on Monday, is considering alleged fraud claims centred around the infamous ‘Taj on the Swan’ mansion in Peppermint Grove, an upmarket suburb of Perth.
The judge in the case, John Gilmour, has rejected the Oswals’ request to give evidence via video link from Hong Kong.
“Such serious allegations should, in my opinion, be tested in the formal and solemn atmosphere of a public court where I, as the judge, am able to exercise control over the proceeding,” Justice John Gilmour said, according to The Australian.