Statement of Huang Xiangmo
ATO SHALL NOT BE A DESPICABLE TOOL FOR POLITICAL PERSECUTION
October 23rd, 2019
I am currently in court proceedings against the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The ATO is believed to be a professional government agency with some integrity but it really pains and saddens me that it has now surrendered itself to the pressure of some unknown dark forces, almost allowing itself to become a tool for political persecution against me.
Paying taxes according to law is a fundamental tenet that I have never once failed as an honest businessman. This holds true throughout my personal and business life in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Australia. My reputation is as previous as life itself. Never have I ever had any history of default anywhere, let alone any record of tax evasion.
3. 对于 ATO 的⼯作，我及我的税务代理⼈德勤公司，⼀直积极配合，提供法规所要求的⼀切材料，进⾏完全透明、坦诚、彻底的沟通。即便在我被澳⼤利亚情报局（ASIO）以莫须有的名义吊销永久居民签证、⽆法回到澳洲的情况下，我也从未中断过这种沟通。
In facilitating the ATO in their work, my tax agent Deloitte and I have always been proactive and cooperative, providing all information and materials as required by law via thorough communication with complete transparency and openness. Never have I ever interrupted such communication even after I have been unable to return to Australia since my permanent residency was revoked by the Australian Intelligence Agency (ASIO) based on groundless allegations.
4. 在我被 ASIO ⽆故吊销签证之前，ATO 从未提出过此次涉及的⾼额税额，却在我的签证被吊销之后，采取突然袭击的⽅式，并且与 ICAC 的听证会、媒体等采取了罕见的协同，这完全不符合 ATO 的⼯作惯例及相关条例，涉嫌侵害纳税⼈的基本辩护权。
Before my visa was unfairly revoked by ASIO, ATO had not once brought up the large amount of tax payable as alleged in the case. It took a sudden attack in concerted efforts with the ICAC hearing and media reports. Such collaboration is rarely seen and far from consistent with ATO’s normal practice or the relevant regulations, and constitutes a suspected violation of the basic right of defense of the taxpayer.
5. ATO 与我的沟通，历时数年，从未发现我有任何偷税漏税的情况。此次ATO 的突然袭击所涉及的所谓税款，是我多年前在中国的⼀个物业；并且，ATO 突然提出的征税对象，居然是中国政府根据中国法律所征收的⼟地出让⾦。估值顾问已经对此进⾏了充分的解释，但ATO依然在 2018 年 1 ⽉ 24 ⽇决定另⾏聘请其它估值顾问再度进⾏评估，却迟⾄⼀年之后的 2019 年 1 ⽉才通知其顾问，迟⾄ 2019 年 7 ⽉ 5 ⽇才拿到新的评估报告。
Throughout the years that the ATO and I were in communication, the ATO has failed to identify any ground for tax evasion on my part. ATO’s sudden attack with the alleged tax liability has been mainly established on a property I owned in China some years ago. In addition, to my surprise, the alleged tax liability that ATO is currently contending for has been largely established on the Land-use Right Assignment Fee1 for the aforementioned property, which was actually a levy collected by the Chinese government under Chinese law. Despite a full explanation of the levy practice that the initial valuation consultants provided, the ATO decided to engage another valuer to re-evaluate the property on January 24, 2018, but did not officially initiated the engagement until 12 months later in January 2019, and a new valuation report was received as late as July 5, 2019.
6. ATO 将中国政府收取的⼟地出让⾦错误地作为我的中国公司的收⼊，进⽽又错误地作为我个⼈的收⼊，再进⽽错误地作为我个⼈在澳应纳税的收⼊，完全不顾常识。正是这⼀违反常识的低级错误，构成了此次耸⼈听闻的巨额补税及罚款的主体。这⾸先反证了我在澳洲的纳税记录⽆可挑剔，其次也体现了 ATO 的此举已经不是正常的税务执法，⽽是利⽤税务执法进⾏政治追杀与迫害，是将 ATO“政治武器化”。
ATO made the initial mistake of treating the land-use right assignment fee collected by the Chinese government as part of the income of my Chinese company, then a subsequent mistake of treating that sum as my personal income, and then a further mistake of treating it as my personal taxable income in Australia, which defies common sense. It is this foolish mistake that constitutes the bulk of the sensationally high amount of tax liability and its subsequent penalties and interests. This desperate attempt at a last resort that ATO relied upon actually stands as proof that my Australian tax record has been impeccable. In addition, it shows that ATO’s move is not an act of any ordinary tax law enforcement. Instead, by taking advantage of its tax collection power for the purpose of political character assassination and persecution, the ATO has turned into a “political weapon”.
7. ATO 此次突然袭击，在我作为当事⼈都尚未收到相关法律⽂件、尚不知情之前，澳洲部分媒体居然提前获得了详细的资讯并进⾏了单⽅⾯的、带倾向性的报道，并将此事与毫不相关的ICAC 听证会及所谓的“中国影响⼒渗透”联系到⼀起，凸显此次事件的背后有着复杂的政治背景与政治动机。
Before I received any legal documents or knowledge of ATO's sudden attack as a party involved, some media outlets in Australia had already been granted access to detailed information in advance and were able to produce unilateral and biased reports. They attempted to associate the matter to the completely irrelevant ICAC hearing and the alleged “China Influence Infiltration”. This has signaled complicated political calculation and motivation lurking in the background.
8. 更令⼈震惊的是，ATO ⽆中⽣有地宣称我近期将巨额资⾦转移出澳⼤利亚，以此营造我抽资离澳的假象。ATO 刻意向法庭和公众隐瞒了：这些资⾦恰恰是正常的周转资⾦，近期从境外转⼊，⽽⾮我账户内的原有资⾦。
More shockingly, the ATO has made the unfounded claims that I have recently transferred huge sums of money out of Australia, in order to create the impression of my withdrawal of funds from Australia. The truth is that ATO has deliberately concealed from the court and the public that these funds were actually normal working capital recently transferred into Australia from abroad, instead of the amount already parked in my Australian accounts.
9. ATO的戏剧性⾏为，不仅不符合其⼀贯的专业做法，也超越了参与沟通、了解案情的 ATO 经办⼈员的专业能⼒、职业道德所能承载的范围。我不能不怀疑，其决策层的某些⼈员，并⾮出于税务征收的⽬的，⽽是将此作为政治⼯具，配合某些暗⿊⼒量，试图败坏我的声誉、切断我的商业圈、恐吓我的商业合作伙伴。在以莫须有之名剥夺我的居留权之 外，还试图以莫须有之名谋夺我的财产，如此明⽕执仗的⾏为，居然出现在澳⼤利亚这样的法治国家，确实令我不寒⽽栗。
ATO’s dramatic act not only contradicts its usual practices as a professional agency but also transcends the professional competence and ethical tolerance of ATO personnel involved in previous communications and with knowledge of the case. I cannot help but suspect that some of the decision-makers did not act for the purpose of tax collection but for using the disguised enforcement as a political tool to facilitate some dark forces in an attempt to ruin my reputation, cut off my business network and intimidate my business partners. First to deprive me of my residency on groundless allegations, then a further attempt to seize my assets with unfounded claims – this is an egregious abuse of power that sends chills down my spine as I would never have expected it of Australia, a country ruled by law, supposedly.
10. 我觉得遗憾与痛⼼的是，此举极⼤地损害了 ATO 的专业性、中⽴性，开创了其作为政治打压⼯具的恶例，损害了澳⼤利亚的法治，破坏了澳⼤利亚的投资环境，其对澳⼤利亚的损害将是长远的。
It is immensely regrettable and saddening as ATO’s act has greatly damaged the professionalism and neutrality of the ATO and also established a vicious precedent for it as a political suppression tool that undermines the rule of law in Australia and its investment environment, causing profound and long-lasting damage to the country.
11. 我坚信，未来总有⼀天，ICAC 或是类似的调查机构，将会对 ATO 将税收“政治武器化”背后的⿊幕进⾏听证调查。我在此呼吁 ATO 的经办⼈员： 或许你们现在⽆法抵制某些暗⿊势⼒的压⼒，但你们完全可以保留好相关的证据，以免将来再被迫作为某些暗⿊势⼒的替罪羔⽺。这⼀天必定会到来，我坚信、也请你们与我⼀同坚信澳⼤利亚的法治、公义⼀定能战胜暗⿊势⼒。
It is my firm belief that someday, the ICAC or another investigative agency would initiate a hearing on the dark forces behind ATO's “political weaponization” of tax collection. I hereby appeal to the ATO personnel involved in previous communication of the case that although you may not be able to resist the pressure of some dark forces as of yet, you may still retain the relevant evidence so as not to end up as scapegoats for the dark forces again. The day will come and darkness will dissipate and I ask that you join me in upholding the faith that Australia’s rule of law and justice will eventually prevail.
12. 这些年来，澳⼤利亚某些代表“暗⿊政府”的⼈，不断说我是“影响⼒特⼯”。ASIO 对我进⾏了多年的严苛调查，最终也不得不承认其没有任何证据。多年来，澳洲公众应该很清楚认识到，对我的每次攻击都有两个共同点：
Over the years, some representatives of the "deep state" in Australia have repeatedly accused me of being an "agent of influence". Yet, despite years of stringent investigation on me, the ASIO had to eventually admit that there was not even a hair of evidence for such allegation. After all these years, the Australians should have come to the realization that the attacks on me share two points of similarities:
One is the amazingly synergized collaboration among media outlets, between media and intelligence agencies, between intelligence agencies and the Immigration Department and the tax authority. Such concerted effort, with its magnitude across and beyond, would be unexplainable without the involvement of a "deep state".
⼆是所有对我的指控，都是“莫须有”。⽆论涉及政治捐款，还是涉及所谓的税务，都成为毫⽆证据⽀持的虚构⼩说。但令⼈吃惊的是，某些政府部门居然还试图根据这些“⼩说”，对我采取、或试图采取某些暗⿊⾏动。这才是澳⼤利亚的真正悲哀所在，也是澳⼤利亚的真正危机所在。The other is that all allegations against me have been “groundless” in nature. Be it a political donation or an alleged tax burden, it all leads to fictional tales fabricated in a vacuum. Even more shockingly, some government agencies have actually taken or attempted to take some “deep state-style” actions against me based on those "fictions". This is the real woe of Australia and where the actual risk lies for the country.
13. 值得澳洲公众及我本⼈略感欣慰的是，与 ATO 此次事件同步发⽣的ICAC 听证会，折腾⾄今虽然暂时休庭，但已经充分证明了与我⽆关，基本还了我的清⽩，只是纳税⼈为这次听证会的成本付出了巨⼤的代价。
To the relief of many Australians and myself personally, the ICAC hearing that has been running parallel to the ATO proceedings, though temporarily suspended after an excruciating ordeal, has offered sufficient evidence that I was not in any way involved in the case at point. My name has been cleared, although the taxpayers paid dearly for those weeks of futile effort.
14. 这些年，我在澳⼤利亚所经历过的、以及仍在经历的⼀切，确实让我深思： 澳⼤利亚某些政客及某些媒体经常拿中国及华⼈说事，但他们⾃⼰的表现与当年的⽩澳主义者及麦卡锡主义者又有什么区别呢？澳⼤利亚的民主、⾃由、法治莫⾮仅仅是摆设？这么多华⼈及各族裔⼈民，选择了在澳⼤利亚⽣活，莫⾮真是瞎了眼？
What I have experienced in Australia over the years and what I am experiencing now make me wonder: Are those Australian politicians and media outlets who bank on telling tales about China and the Chinese any different from the White Supremacists or the McCarthyites? The Australian democracy, freedom and rule of law – Are they for display only? The Chinese and all other ethnic groups – Were they blind to have chosen to live in Australia?
It was once reported that the then Prime Minister Tony Abbot described Australia's China policy as driven by “fear and greed”. I admire his frankness and I agree with his choice of words. However, from my experience, when describing Australia's China policy both in its diplomatic policy towards China and its domestic policy towards the Australian Chinese, there should be a third word to join "Fear" and "Greed": "Hypocrisy". Or, to be more direct – It is outright "Shamelessness".
16. 对于 ATO 此次沦为政治迫害的卑劣⼯具，我已经委托律师进⾏处理，希望并相信澳⼤利亚法治犹存。今后，我会在征求律师意见的前提下，在合适的时机向媒体及公众公布相关的资料。
Regarding this case where ATO has been reduced to a despicable tool of political persecution, I have entrusted my lawyers to handle the dealings in hopes that the rule of law in Australia survives. Going forward, with advice from my lawyers, I will share with media and the public the relevant information and materials at the appropriate time.
1 China as a sovereign state retains ownership of state-owned land at all times. An investor only acquires the "Land Use Right (LUR)" of a piece of land for a certain period of time. The land authorities may grant an LUR to the assignee in exchange of the assignee’s payment of a premium (also known as the “Land-use Right Assignment Fee”).
In a transaction that involves a piece of land, the land authorities may first recover the original LUR from the Seller and then re-assign a new LUR in a LUR Assignment Contract between the authority and the Purchaser that evidences the due amount of Assignment Fee payable by the Purchaser.