Australian actor?director Paul Hogan said on Tuesday he did not have the money to clear his tax debts and so be allowed to leave Australia.
The Crocodile Dundee star claimed he was being persecuted by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) because of his fame and supposed fortune.
?I can?t pay 10 per cent of what they?re asking and they don?t want 10 per cent of what they?re asking,? Hogan said in his first public response to an ATO ruling that he could not return to his home in the United States until he pays up.
Hogan was to remain in Australia until back taxes of an estimated 150 million Australian dollars (133 million US dollars) are paid off, the authorities ruled last week.
Hogan, 70, was visiting from the U.S. for his mother?s funeral when he was served with papers preventing him leaving.
Three years ago he sold his Australian properties and moved permanently to Santa Barbara, California, where he lives with wife and Crocodile Dundee co?star Linda Kozlowski, a U.S. citizen.
He insisted he had not evaded any tax and should not be classified as a flight risk because he had returned to Australia of his own accord.
The ATO claims Hogan used tax havens to salt away money he earned from his starring role in the 1986 film Crocodile Dundee, which took an estimated 350 million U.S. dollars at the box office.
The actor says the taxman has a vendetta against him.
?I know they?ve got no class and I know they?re absolutely desperate to nail some high?profile character with money to justify the expense to the taxpayer,? he told Australia?s Channel Nine television station.
Keywords: Australian actor director Paul Hogan