Gold Coast and Brisbane developer Jim Raptis opens up about tax affairs
Controversial Sunshine State developer Jim Raptis has opened up about his problems with the Australian Taxation Office and the Federal Court’s recent decision to allow the freezing of more than $83m worth of assets linked to him including a waterfront house and luxury vehicle.
The ATO alleges the prolific Gold Coast and Brisbane apartment developer was engaged in significant tax avoidance measures allowing the veteran real estate entrepreneur to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars in tax and penalties.
The ATO last Friday launched action against Mr Raptis, a British-based company called Sevinhand – which Mr Raptis is claimed to have interests in – and another Australian company, Northernson Pty Ltd, in a move to freeze assets.
In a statement to The Australian, Mr Raptis admitted that over the past 18 months he and his advisers have been working with the ATO to reconcile a number of private taxation matters.
“The ATO has acknowledged the transparent way we have acted in these matters, which have also included significant payments in good faith by entities associated with me while those discussions have continued,” Mr Raptis claimed in the statement. “We were therefore very disappointed that the ATO has now issued several tax assessments to me and other parties, unrelated to any issues we had previously discussed, and the same day commenced legal action to enforce them, including asking for orders in my absence.
“None of the parties involved in these actions have been provided with the opportunity to discuss these assessments with the ATO, or to lodge objections or to defend them in court, as they are entitled to do,” he claimed.
“The ATO’s reasons for this action are unclear, but I hope we are able to have further discussions with the ATO to resolve any additional concerns it may have.”
Mr Raptis added that Raptis Group Limited was not affected by any court orders.
“No company with which I am involved is prevented from making payments in the ordinary course of business,” he said.
The Raptis Group collapsed in 2009 owing creditors around $1bn.
The company has since relisted on the ASX and said on Tuesday there had been a “number of articles over the past week in the print media referring to Mr James Raptis and his private family business interests”.
“These matters are not relevant to the day to day business of the listed entity Raptis Group Ltd.”