By Stephen Mayne

The Sydney Morning Herald has obviously copped a legal rocket from John Farnham after linking the legendary singer to the burgeoning ATO’s tax avoidance probe. The original story, without the original reference or these photos, is now topped with this apology, which reads as follows:

On Monday, July 25, the Herald published an article “Flurry of big names ensures case will run and run”, concerning current investigations of high profile people by the Australian Taxation Office in relation to alleged tax offences. The article named and published a photograph of John Farnham which may have suggested to some readers that he was one of the big names being investigated by the Tax Office. The Herald accepts that John Farnham is not the subject of this, or any, tax investigation and if any reader took the article to suggest the contrary the Herald retracts such a suggestion and apologises to John Farnham for any hurt or embarrassment caused.

We didn’t see The SMH’s story before publishing the following on the same day:

Melbourne lawyer to the celebrity set, Michael Brereton, has sprinted to the Federal Court attempting to avoid ATO scrutiny, and his former high profile client Glenn Wheatley was certainly working hard to play it all down as you can see from this story in TheDaily Telegraph story on 5 July. He was quoted as follows, discussing a tax office raid in early June:

“It’s all very straightforward.”
“They haven’t indicated to me that they are looking for anything specific.”
“They’re just checking.”
“As far as I can tell it’s just routine and nothing else.”
“I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier in my life.”

Wheatley stressed that he hasn’t been a client of Brereton’s for ten years although they were certainly joined at the hip financially for many years in the 1980s and 1990s. John Farnham and Glenn Wheatley have been working together for three decades so let’s hope Whispering Jack doesn’t get dragged into this ever-expanding net as well.

CRIKEY: We haven’t heard from Whispering Jack but are relieved to hear that he hasn’t been ensnared in any way whatsoever.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey