Crocodile Dundee's Paul Hogan gets early Christmas present

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Paul Hogan, star of the “Crocodile Dundee” movies, got an early Christmas present this week -- the Australian Tax Office abandoned its criminal investigation of him and his business manager for tax evasion.

Paul Hogan, best known for his role as Crocodile Dundee, attends a news conference in central Sydney October 28, 2008. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

The news, which ended a years-long legal struggle in which Hogan was investigated over allegations that he put tens of millions of dollars in film royalties in offshore tax havens as part of a broader probe, came as a relief, his lawyer Andrew Robinson said in a statement.

“After nearly six years of massively costly investigations during which our clients have been routinely branded in the local and international press as ‘tax cheats’ and ‘tax criminals’, the news... is of immense relief to them,” Robinson said.

“They now look forward to resolving any outstanding matters with the Australian Taxation Office in accordance with the usual dispute resolution protocol.”

In July, the tax office was reported to have served Hogan, best known for his role as an outback hunter, with an amended tax bill for tax on $37.6 million of undeclared income.

Hogan repeatedly denied the allegations, saying he had “paid plenty of tax” in Australia.

Robinson said they had not been able to contact Hogan, but that his business manager, John “Strop” Cornell, was preparing to celebrate.

“That speck in the sky is my hat and I look forward to sampling some of Strop’s patented hangover cure tomorrow morning,” Cornell said in a press release.

The Australian Tax Office was unavailable for comment.

A popular Australian TV comedian, Hogan hit international fame as Mick “Crocodile” Dundee in the 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee,” which went on to become Australia’s most successful film ever and won Hogan a Golden Globe for best actor.

Two sequels followed and Hogan married his Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski, his second marriage.

Editing by Elaine Lies