American investor and bitcoin critic Peter Schiff has reportedly found himself embroiled in a multi-jurisdictional tax evasion probe involving authorities from Australia, Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands.
The alleged probe centers around the activities of Puerto Rico-based Euro Pacific Bank, which was founded by Schiff and which Australian authorities allege has links to organized crime.
According to a report in Melbourne daily newspaper The Age, San Juan-based Euro Pacific is being targeted by “Operation Atlantis,” which is a global tax probe led by tax authorities in the above jurisdictions. The operation, which was set up in response to the Panama Papers leak, has allegedly indicted Euro Pacific as an “Australian Priority Organization Target.”
Investigators, including agents from America’s IRS, went knocking on the doors of investors and customers of a bank they vaguely described as an offshore institution. #60Mins can confirm it was the Euro Pacific bank. pic.twitter.com/2YmdTH7ZzK— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) October 18, 2020
Euro Pacific’s Alleged Wrongdoings
According to the report, Euro Pacific has been identified by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission as a severe organized crime threat. Consequently, the bank has reportedly received the highest possible risk classification under the commission’s anti-money laundering regulations.
Euro Pacific maintains several correspondent relationships with some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, including the New York Federal Reserve, Japan’s Mizuho Bank, the UK’s NatWest Bank and Canada’s Bank of Montreal (BMO). According to the report, the bank allegedly helped its Australian clients to launder vast sums of money and evade taxes in Australia.
All those years bagging #Bitcoin & now @PeterSchiff finds himself at the centre of a major criminal investigation into international tax evasion.— Alex Saunders
#Banks #TaxEvasion https://t.co/HvqkgyQNl0 pic.twitter.com/UD8FMcSlvt (@AlexSaundersAU) October 18, 2020
Simon Anquetil, an Australian national who received a seven-year jail sentence in July 2020 for his role in an AUD 165 million tax fraud case, allegedly moved money through the bank for money laundering or tax evasion purposes.
The report alleges that Euro Pacific’s clients also include an anonymous Russian cybercriminal wanted both in Australia and the United States for his role in a global malware attack, as well as an Australian national who is wanted for laundering vast sums of money for an illegal drug trafficking cartel.
Schiff Protests His Innocence
Schiff however, insists that none of this is the case. “The Age” reports that Schiff, speaking to “60 Minutes” on Australia’s Channel 9 in an interview that aired on Oct. 10, confirmed that Euro Pacific received a visit from the IRS working in partnership with the Australian Taxation Office on Jan. 24.
According to him, however, the bank has complied with several information requests and has nothing to hide. He said in the interview:
“We somehow got caught up in whatever’s going on, but there are no valid allegations against the bank. I can tell you there is no tax evasion going on at the bank. The bank is not facilitating anything.”
*BeInCrypto has reached out to Peter Schiff for a comment and will update this article if we receive a response.