Unpaid Tax Claim against Pankaj and Radhika Oswal slashed by ATO itself, Radhika Oswal thinks Australia is not a racist country

Melbourne, June 8:  Australian tax authorities today slashed the claim of $190 million unpaid tax bill to just $32 million for the Indian billionaire couple, Pankaj and Radhika Oswal.

The jet-setting couple was issued a Departure Prohibition Order as soon as landed in Australia in April this year, returning from Dubai. They were thus barred from leaving Australia after the DPO against ATO’s $190 million claim.

ATO yesterday reduced its claim limiting to Radhika Oswal to just $32 million. It was however, not clarified whether ATO would lift its DPO order.

The Oswals had earlier argued that the claim against them by ATO could only be for $32 million and had maintained that nothing further was owed to ATO.

Separately, responding to her recent allegations of “racist remarks by the ANZ officials” in 2009 emails, Mrs Oswal told Herald Sun that despite the emails, she has never considered Australia a racist country.

“Australians have been very friendly to us. It is only the banks, the receivers and there business friends who have caused us trouble,” she said, adding the family would even consider a permanent return.

“We have to get through this trial first. Everything depends on that. Our daughters grew up in Perth so they have a strong connection,” Mrs Oswal said.

Pankaj Oswal had earlier said that he was prepared to spend a long time in Australia and was eager to “seek justice in court”.

ANZ bank’s senior officials had described the Indian couple as “two very unsavoury characters” with “no moral compass”.

While, ANZ contends that the Oswals misappropriated $150 million from Burrup for personal use, the Oswals are suing the bank for $2.5 billion after it sold their Western Australian fertiliser company over personal debts.

It is claimed that the family’s 65 per cent stake in Burrup Fertilisers, worth $1.385 billion was sold for only $560 million.

The Oswals’ $70 million mansion remains in ruins in Perth’s upscale suburb of Peppermint Grove. Their $30m private jet, luxury cars and a $2.7m yacht had all been left behind when they moved to Dubai in 2010.

Mrs Oswal also indicated further investments in Australia notwithstanding their recent financial portfolio debacle.

“My husband believes the Australian resources and energy sector is one of the greatest opportunistic areas worldwide. I’m sure he would love to invest in more downstream industries here, if we are able to get justice for the wrongs that have been previously inflicted upon us,” she said.

Ramakrishna VenuGopal

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