6 Oct 2014

Alex Swney named in tax evasion case

6:04 pm on 6 October 2014

The head of a publicly funded body in Auckland charged with evading millions of dollars of tax after issuing false invoices to a publicly funded organisation can be named for the first time.

Alex Gordon Swney, 57, denies 39 charges of tax evasion.

Suppression orders had previously prevented Radio New Zealand from naming Mr Swney and the Auckland business association, Heart of the City, which is partly publicly funded.

Mr Swney was charged in April this year by the Inland Revenue Department with 39 instances of not filing income and GST tax returns. The charges carry a maximum five-year jail sentence or a $50,000 fine.

Heart of the City, meanwhile, has revealed it has terminated Alex Swney's contract.

Board chairperson Terry Gould said a process for appointing an interim chief executive has already started.

He said Mr Swney's contract was ended last week as soon as the board learned about the allegations.

A forensic expert has been appointed by the board to look into Heart of the City's finances and activities.

The IRD alleges tax of almost $1.8 million was unpaid, and a further $1.3 million is owed in penalties and interest.

Alex Swney appeared at the Auckland District Court today where hislawyer David Jones, QC, said his client no longer pursued name suppression after Radio New Zealand and NZME instructed a lawyer to file submissions on the suppression.

Outside court, Mr Swney said he had no comment to make and is due back in court next month.