Australian law enforcement agencies have seized methylamphetamine worth AUS$1.26bn in the country’s largest-ever haul of the illicit drug in its liquid form, officials said Monday.
Four Hong Kong passport holders were arrested in Sydney last month over the import from China of 720 liters of the drug hidden in boxes of silicon bra inserts and art supplies, police said in a statement
The liquid could have made about 500kg of high-grade crystal meth, commonly known in Australia as ice, Australian Federal Police Commander Chris Sheehan said.
Officials also seized 2kg of the crystalized form of the drug.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the operation used information gathered through new cooperation between Australian Federal Police and China’s National Narcotics Control Commission. The Australian and Chinese agencies established a joint task force in November to investigate criminal syndicates trafficking methamphetamine.
“This largest seizure of liquid methylamphetamine to date is the result of organized criminals targeting the lucrative Australian ice market from offshore,” Keenan told reporters.
The four will appear in a Sydney court next month charged with importing and manufacturing commercial quantities of illegal drugs. Each suspect faces a potential life sentence if convicted.
Keenan said the seizure was one the largest hauls of illicit drugs in Australian history. Source: Perth News
Global pharmaceutical companies paid tax of just $85 million in Australia on revenues of more than $8 billion, including $3.5bn from taxpayer-subsidised drugs, Labor senator Sam Dastyari says.
“What is so extraordinary is that you’ve had companies that have been able to arrange their affairs to be able to drive down their revenue to such an extent that their taxable income is simply one per cent of the revenue that they have,” Senator Dastyari said.
Senator Dastyari addressed media during a break at a senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance in Sydney that is hearing from nine of the biggest drug companies operating in Australia.
“The question before us today was ‘Is this a genuine representation of how profitable these companies have been?’,” Senator Dastyari said.
“The evidence is that they have done what they can to drive up their costs to make themselves as artificially unprofitable as possible in Australia and make themselves more profitable in other jurisdictions to avoid paying tax here.”
Senator Christine Milne, who is also on the senate committee conducting the inquiry, said Johnson and Johnson’s vice president of global taxation had given extraordinary evidence that the company had a profit formula that the Australian subsidiary was required to meet.
“Then they work out their tax affairs so that they move their profits offshore and they maximise their costs here,” Senator Milne told journalists.
“And the extraordinary thing is in the negotiation with the government on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme they ask what the market will bear in terms of the cost of those drugs but they don’t reveal what they actually pay for those drugs from their head office.
“People in the community are saying well look the government keeps coming after us to pay more tax – what about the big end of town?” Source: theaustralian.com.au