'You can't trust anyone,' and our Tax supremo Chris Jordan could not be happier

Trust. It's important to Tax Commissioner, Chris 'Dirty Harry' Jordan

He thinks there's less of it. 

Australian Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan: 'can't trust anyone anymore'.
Australian Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan: 'can't trust anyone anymore'. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

And on Wednesday at the Senate estimates committee the former cop mused about it with mock regret.

"You can't trust anyone anymore," he told the pollies – as if they didn't know. 

Illustration: John Shakespeare.
Illustration: John Shakespeare. 

"People leak things. They are often disaffected bank employees in Switzerland or Luxembourg. The United States pays for information. The US and the UK share it with us."

He shook his head while pondering the fate of the Singapore trustee company whose IT consultant came in to update its systems, downloaded everything, then sold it.

"You really can't trust anyone," he intoned with sadness. 

"So when you get these trustee companies and lawyers saying, 'look come to me, your secrets will be our secrets and no-one will ever find out,' take that with a grain of salt now, because money often speaks, you can't trust anyone, and the world's a smaller place."

Or as Dirty Harry would say to our tax dodging corporations: "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"  

His days at KPMG seem a long time ago. 

Above board

Everyone is a winner in the real estate game. 

Which is obviously why uber agent, John McGrath was reportedly providing a helping hand to fellow REA board member, Hamish McLennan, as he acquired a $7.4 million pile in Sydney's Lavender Bay this week.

Not too much of a helping hand of course given the seller was Daniel Petre, one of the directors at his recently listed property shop, McGrath Ltd.

And especially since Petre went to the trouble of using the McGrath group as one of his agents. 

And doubly especially since McGrath's share price has hit a fresh low of $1.50, down by 28 per cent since its debut barely two months ago, and the group obviously needs all the help it can get.

Sunny side 

Suncorp's new boss Michael Cameron, was obviously trying not to scare the horses as he made his debut with the finance group's interim results on Thursday. 

Much like his counterpart at Bank of Queensland, Jon Sutton, he seemed a bit squeamish about any references that might be construed as job losses. 

The former GPT boss deftly referred to "strategic refinements", "re-alignment of the operating model", "optimisation benefits", "recalibrating costs", as well as the "realisation of corporate benefits". 

No doubt, Suncorp staff can't wait to hear EXACTLY what that means when more detail is announced at the update to investors this May.

On Thursday, Cameron would not even admit to killing off any of its 14 brands – which include AAMI and GIO – despite his plans for brand rationalisation. 

"We have 14 brands at the moment," he said rather ominously, and underlined how expensive it was maintaining this many.  

But he then gently referred to plans designed to "emphasise" or "de-emphasise" particular brands. 

Under Stan

Embattled streaming service, Quickflix, has finally come up with the real reason it is withering on the financial vine against competition from Netflix, Stan and Presto.

The culprit is the Nine Entertainment/Fairfax Media streamer, Stan. 

It holds $11.6 million worth of redeemable preference shares, with rights that ensure it stands in the queue ahead of any new investors that might want to inject some cash, according to Quickflix founder, Stephen Langsford.

That would be kind of important if Quickflix fell off its perch. And given its current financial predicament, this is not exactly a remote possibility. 

And here was CBD thinking that the problem was, nobody wants to invest in a struggling fourth player in a market where only one seems guaranteed to make any money, Netflix. 

Bear put 

And finally, it is good to see not everyone is suffering from the bear market.

Cochlear rocketed above the $100 mark on Thursday after its profit upgrade, and no one would be happier than its recently retired boss, Chris Roberts, whose extensive use of put and call options over the years gave him plenty of exposure.

"I've been doing it now for a decade and it has enabled me to stay long in the stock," he once explained to CBD. 

If he's still long, that stock is now worth about $75 million. 

Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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