Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beverly Hills Mall Mogul to Testify Before Senate Subcommittee

Beverly Hills shopping center magnate,Peter Lowy, whose family investments have been routed through a bank in Liechtenstein is set to testify next week in Washington before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The committee has called Lowy to testify Friday as part of its investigation into how financial institutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein may be engaging in banking practices that result in "tax evasion and other misconduct," according to the panel.

Australian-born Lowy, 49, is an American citizen and head of the U.S. division of Westfield Group, one of the world's largest shopping center chains. He is ranked as one of the wealthiest individuals in Los Angeles.

Lowy has hired prominent Washington lawyer Robert S. Bennett, who said Friday that his client would testify voluntarily. He stressed that the committee was probing the role of the offshore banks and not his client or the Lowy relatives, the second-wealthiest family in Australia.

The Senate hearings have focused on the Swiss bank UBS and a private bank, LGT, owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein. Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that Frank Lowy, Peter's father, set up a foundation with LGT in 1998 after telling the bank that he did not want Australian tax authorities to know about the money involved.

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