The relatively few cinemagoers who viewed 2001’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles – “I’ve seen audits that were more thrilling”, was one reviewer’s verdict – might have assumed Paul Hogan’s career was on the wane some time before the Australian government began to investigate his tax affairs.
But the leathery comedian-turned-Hollywood star, 71, sees things differently. He plans to sue federal authorities for up to £50m over what he claims were lost earnings caused by damage to his reputation amid the five-year investigation.
Six weeks ago the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), which tackles serious and organised wrongdoing, announced it would not be pursuing any criminal charges against Hogan as these were “not justified in the public interest”. Hogan was the most famous face implicated in the ACC’s Project Wickenby, a crackdown on the alleged abuse of tax havens by well-off Australians.
Hogan’s lawyer, Andrew Robinson, said his client planned to bring in film executives to testify that the bad publicity had cost him between £6.5m and almost £10m a year in earnings.