“Come and get me, you miserable bastards,” was Paul Hogan’s response a couple of years ago to the news that he was being investigated for tax evasion. The Australian government said he owed it a lot more money, but Hogan, who lives in Los Angeles now, appeared to believe he had paid enough. “As a guy who brought millions into Australia,” he said, “they should build a statue at the tax office to me and send me a Christmas card.” They didn’t do that, but they did announce last November that they were dropping the criminal investigation.
And so last week, Crocodile Dundee said he would sue Australia.
The government did not say it had cleared Hogan, only that there were “insufficient prospects of securing convictions,” which might or might not be the same thing. Reportedly, the Australian Tax Office is going to press on, but now that Hogan does not face criminal charges he has apparently decided to take the offensive.
Hogan’s lawyer said his client may seek up to $80 million on the grounds that “his earning potential and reputation has been decimated” by the investigation. This sounds a lot like what Steven Seagal said after his name came up in the Anthony Pellicano scandal. See “Steven Seagal Demands FBI Apology for Ruining Career,” Lowering the Bar (Sep. 7, 2007). And it seems to suffer from the same flaw regarding said actor’s current earning potential. In other words, if Hogan is saying the tax investigation deprived the world of “Crocodile Dundee 4,” then he needs to revise his numbers – even the third in that series only grossed $39 million, and I’m not aware that anyone has been camping out to get tickets for a fourth.
Hogan’s business manager responded colorfully to the news of the dismissal, saying, “That speck in the sky is my hat and I look forward to sampling some of Strop’s patented hangover cure tomorrow morning.” The lawyer, on the other hand, responded that his clients “now look forward to resolving any outstanding matters . . . in accordance with the usual dispute resolution protocol,” which is probably about as colorful as he gets.