View Comments
Peter Bartlett
Kalgoorlie Miner / Tony Holmes Peter Bartlett

Lawyers for Barminco founder Peter Bartlett are fighting a summons for the businessman to be examined by the Australian Crime Commission.

Mr Bartlett has been summoned by the ACC to answer questions about $4 million in payments he made after the sale of Barminco in 2007.

Mr Barlett's legal representative, Chris Shanahan, told the Federal Court in Perth yesterday that the cash was gifted to friends and family by his client, and were not out of the ordinary given that the proceeds from the sale of the mining contractor totalled hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mr Shanahan told the court that the use of coercive statutory powers to summon Mr Bartlett was illegal because the gifts were not related to either Operation Wickenby, the ACC's probe into illegal tax haven arrangements, or Operation Haycastle, which is focused on alleged tax avoidance schemes devised by Gregory Dunn.

Mr Shanahan also argued that the ACC's claim of public interest immunity in masking sections of the document that outline the reasons for the summons was not valid.

Mr Bartlett reached a separate settlement with the Australian Taxation Office over alleged tax avoidance and advice he received from Mr Dunn in February 2008.

The ACC's legal representative Peter Macliver argued that Mr Bartlett's previous overseas tax arrangements and involvement with Mr Dunn were enough to suggest that the source of the Barminco payments could be relevant to the ACC's investigations.