Release Date: 22 June 2009
Release ID: 4176
Did you hear the one about ...
A client clothing company who imports goods from China, and had the experience of their business premises, their accountant's business premises and the home of the directors being searched by Customs, who had been issued with warrants to do so.
The facts are similar to the situation we described in the first three paragraphs of our Trade and Service Issues Bulletin 01/07 (which can be viewed under the Bulletins icon at www.dutg.com.au).
Customs were justified in investigating the situation that they thought they saw in the international transactions of the company and the directors.
Customs considered the documents taken during the execution of the warrants and we had correspondence and discussions with Customs in relation to their concerns.
Customs have recently advised that they are not going to prosecute the company or its directors and will be returning the company's documents to them.
Never assume that the situation presented to you or to a client following a Customs and Border Protection investigation or in a prosecution, either tells the entire story, or that the client does not have a reasonable defence to suspicions or allegations of wrong doing.
Customs prosecutions must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and so what may look unusual is not necessarily enough to justify the successful prosecution of a client or the issuing of a penalty notice.
We suggest that to protect your client's interests, when faced with an action by Customs or the Director of Public Prosecutions:-
You always give your client the benefit of the doubt; and
Your client should ask for a legal opinion and assistance as soon as possible.
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