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Dark Money

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PwC now has more than 3,500 lawyers in 90 countries on its payroll. EPA/AAP

Come hide with us – bean counters raid big law firms

The Big Four accounting firms are headhunting senior lawyers by the score. Could this be a way to assert legal professional privilege over tax advice for their multinational clients?
Customers don’t expect their banking documents to be found in a gutter on the other side of the country, let alone have the bank blame them. Dave Hunt/AAP

Another day, another scandal: CBA blames customers for identity theft

One bank customer whose identity was stolen asks: ‘Why didn’t they call the fraud squad, or the police?’ It’s a very good question.
The Netherlands is where nearly $1 billion from Australia was sunk into two companies liquidated three years later. Alex de Haas/flickr

Bottom of the canal: Pfizer’s billion-dollar tax ploy

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has engaged in a series of paper transactions to create a A$936 million loss in Australia – effectively a billion-dollar exercise in avoiding tax.
New Zealand shows up Australia as badly in the field of pharmaceuticals as it does on the rugby field. Dave Hunt/AAP

New Zealand steamrolls Australia on the pharmaceutical paddock too

Drug prices in Australia are three times higher than in New Zealand. A key reason is the lack of transparency about taxpayer subsidies for Big Pharma and the companies’ own finances.
Despite global outrage at the cost of its Hepatitis C cure, Gilead reaps huge profits – aided by Australian taxpayer subsidies. Nick St Charles/flickr

Gilead and the billion-dollar odyssey

How much can a multinational take before its social licence to operate in this country expires? How much corporate welfare is too much?
The Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance has helped expose just how much work remains to be done on the multinational tax front. Julian Smith/AAP

Rumours of the death of multinational tax avoidance are greatly exaggerated

The Australian government took out ads this month boasting of victory in the fight against multinational tax avoidance. It is no small irony that taxpayers forked out for this bald-faced lie.
Matt Canavan (right) and the rest of the Turnbull government have been scrambling to deal with a gas crisis that’s largely of the industry’s own making. Dan Peled/AAP

Canavan offers to fund gas exploration, but what do we get in return?

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan is not only espousing a A$1 billion taxpayer leg-up for Indian coal magnate Gautam Adani to build a rail line but has now called for public money to be deployed…
NSW Business Chamber chief executive Stephen Cartwright (pictured right with Malcolm Turnbull) says the chamber is ‘fiercely non-political’. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

No flies on Australia’s richest union

The NSW Business Chamber insists that arguing against entitlements for low-paid workers and victims of domestic violence qualifies as a charitable exercise.
Wotif is one of a slew of formerly competitive rivals bought up by Expedia. Dan Peled/AAP

Tax take shrinks as online accommodation agents rake it in

Australian authorities have allowed predatory online travel agents to shrink their tax base while penalising Australian accommodation operators thanks to onerous commissions and vanishing competition