The son of a high-profile Australian Holocaust survivor pleaded the Fifth Amendment before a U.S. Senate investigation into tax havens.
Peter Lowy, his father, Frank, and brothers David and Steven are accused of hiding $68 million in a secret bank account in Liechtenstein.
The Lowy family vehemently denies the allegations, claiming the funds were donated to charities in Israel before the account was closed in 2001.
Peter Lowy, 49, a U.S. citizen who runs the American operations of Westfield, a massive shopping mall empire with properties in the United States, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, said during his July 25 appearance before the Senate, â€œSenator, Iâ€™m sorry, I mean no disrespect. But on the advice of my counsel I assert my rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution not to answer any questions.â€
Sen. Carl Levin (D.-Mich.) chided the Lowys over what he termed an â€œingenious set-upâ€ that unfolded â€œlike spy novels.â€ He said the fact the Lowys claimed the money went to Israeli charities was not enough information.
â€œHe has refused the subcommittee’s request to name the charities involved or identify the dates and amounts of the donations,â€ Levin said. Peter Lowy also is accused of fleeing to Australia before U.S. marshals could serve him with a subpoena on July 18. He denies the allegation, saying the courts knew of his prior business commitments.