Bali Discovery Tours – Tax fraud and renting out illegal villas.
By Jack Daniels
Mar 10, 2006, 02:01
It seems ironic, until you come to know and detest the Indonesian business and political world, someone such as John M (AKA Jack) Daniels and his Sanur based travel agency, PT Bali Discovery Tours, that he and they are held by many, including the governor of Bali and PATA in such seeming high regard. Not that we hold either Bali’s Governor or PATA (a travel industry marketing corporation we believe fraudulently masquerades as a wider interest and higher level true travel association) in high regard anyway. So the irony is only for those who do not know how Bali and Indonesia really is behind the smiles and sunshine; because Mr. Daniels is part of the Governor’s Bali Recovery Team when he likely has cost Bali more visitors in bad publicity than anyone or anything except JI (the terrorist group), Suharto, Indonesian credit card fraud and bent Balinese police officers. Ironic because Daniels, the former morticians assistant who seems to have worked illegally in Indonesia for many years and names himself after a liquor while presenting himself and his travel agency as pious pillars of Balinese tourism ethics, society and truth. While all the time, as we have shown in previous articles, colludes with corrupt police officers against competitors, publishes false and libelous material about villas which refuse to do business with him in his weekly ezine rag the “Bali Update”, upsetting at least one very major foreign travel company / tour operator which actually send thousands of people to Bali (as opposed to Daniels who seemingly simply skims off people coming to Bali anyway) who used to do business with him.
It is ironic that Mr. Daniels once sent out an email, which he denies yet which the electronic header shows came from his server and was accessed from an ISP account in Bali known to belong to Jack (which would mean having two sets of passwords belonging to Jack Daniels), suggesting people report any illegal villa operations to him so he could provide this data to his friends in the police authority [sic]. It is ironic that Jack Daniels has been busy recently sending out Bali Updates about unlicensed villa operations and the impending crack down on them, while all the time offering unlicensed villas for rent on his own website, balidiscovery dot com (or is it “con”). You see, a private investigation the results which were forwarded to us shows that a significant number of the villas being offered by PT Bali Discovery Tours are illegal, unlicensed villas.
This actually equates to aiding and abetting of course, enough to see Mr. Daniels go to jail and his company’s license revoked, but what makes it worse is that Bali Discovery Tours compound this criminal act by also committing tax and service charge fraud. You see, Mr. Daniels / Bali Discovery’s web site states that their prices include 21% tax and service charge. However, we have been given information by another party which shows Mr. Daniels and company are on the fiddle! When Bali Discovery Tours approached a villa not listed on their site for rates, because one of Bali Discovery’s customers asked for a rate from them for these particular villas, their representative spelled out how Daniels et all do business to the villa management when they approached them. First they did not even ask about whether the villas they approached were licensed or not, or were registered for tax or not, but said Bali Discovery would pay them whatever their trade rate was including 21% tax and service charge. Of course, Bali Discovery Tours charge their customers more than the trade rate they are charged in return by the villas.
What this means is Bali Discovery is collecting tax and giving it to illegal businesses which do not pay tax. Because Jack Daniels and colleagues state their rates include 21% tax and service, not just “include tax and service”, they are making a legal statement the amount people pay (the guest’s rate) includes 21% tax and service right? So they are committing tax fraud because not all of the 10% tax element they say they are collecting gets to the government; a large percentage is going to illegal operations. By that token Bali Discovery Tours is also guilty of pocketing some of the service charge legally meant for the poor villa / hotel workers as extra profit. Because John Millard and co only gives a percentage of the service charge to the villas / hotels, they are keeping the rest. Although Jack Daniels, PT Bali Discovery Tours and their hosting company in the USA, Crystaltech have been advised of this, they have not changed their web site to reflect the truth.
We believe this makes Mr. Daniels, his company and his American hosting company liable for thousands and thousands, perhaps millions of misappropriated tax and service charge revenues. But we don’t expect the Indonesian authorities to do anything about it just yet. Why? Because we are sure Daniels and Bali Discovery Tours are just the tip of the iceberg, that most if not all Indonesian travel agents are fiddling both the government and hotel workers out of their money. And let us not forget that tax revenues pay for schools, hospitals and roads, which is probably a good part of the reason why the infrastructure in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia is so bad. Of course the question why Bali Discovery and others can get away with such clear criminal acts (yes, tax fraud is a criminal act) is that the whole Indonesian system, particularly law enforcement is corrupt. That is to say ordinarily even if Bali Discovery Tours were investigated by the police for their acts it would likely be more a case of “Jack, we have been told you are cheating the government, the people of Bali and hotels workers who earn less than US$50 a month out of money, we are going to need a ‘donation’ from you!”, with the reply “Yes officer, not a problem, remember I am a good friend of the police and have given them many money making opportunities before, how much will this cost me?” But we believe “ordinarily” is at risk for Bali Discovery, that things will change for Jack Daniels sooner or later and he will be spending some time in Kerobokan jail one day.
The problem for the “Truth Minister” Daniels is that he once went for the wrong person, flamboyant multi-millionaire Mark Austin. You may remember we reported before that Mr. Austin caught Mr. Daniels offering unauthorized hotel rooms rates on balidiscovery dot con and informed the hotel who embarrassingly for Mr. Daniels, after he publicly stated the rates were “kosher”, was made to remove them. How Mr. Daniels then filed a false and malicious complaint with a senior police officer that Mr. Austin was a spy in pathetic pubescent Neanderthal style revenge! Which meant Mark was detained unlawfully, had his passport seized unlawfully, and was threatened with the firing squad during a totally unlawful and unofficial police investigation. Then when Mr. Austin published what had happened to him and who was responsible, Daniels went further by abusing Indonesia’s currently most abused criminal code, criminal libel, where anyone with any influence can have someone else jailed for speaking the truth on the basis they are not allowed to say anything bad about anyone or anything more important (in Indonesian law enforcement eyes) than themselves. Mark Austin even received death threats linked to both Daniels and Balinese police officers, and reportedly been placed on Interpol’s watch list as a suspected insurgent by the Indonesian police authority to help them track him down and possibly murder him, despite the fact the only official police “investigation” into Mark is for that wholesale abused criminal libel allegation; that hardly makes Austin a terrorist!
Anyway, Daniels published a statement which showed he was colluding with bent Balinese police officers to so act unlawfully against Mr. Austin on Bali Discovery Tours’ web site. Daniels described how police officers would take a sealed complaint from Bali Discovery’s dubious lawyer Lijaya Suryatin and lie in wait for Mr. Austin until they could get their hands on him; despite the fact Mr. Austin had a lawyer registered with the police who should have been notified of any criminal. Jack’s admission in his article was no doubt unwitting and the article itself in his own questionable mind (evidence exists Jack Daniels is clinically insane) somehow exonerated him in his public relations nightmare after being caught doing the original dirty. But Jack’s article, clearly also an attempt to demean Mark Austin, said criminal charges had been filed against Mark when they could not have been, because Jack Daniels’ lawyer hadn’t even made his criminal libel complaint at the time! This particular statement opened up the chance for Mark Austin to sue Jack Daniels outside Indonesia for libel. If Mark wins, because Daniels was in Indonesia when he wrote and published his lies, Mr. Austin can demand Daniels be jailed under Indonesian law for the same nasty “crime” as Daniels has tried to afflict Austin with!
The trouble is or rather was Mark Austin has been trying to sue Jack Daniels in the USA for the last 2 years, but has thus far failed. Not because Jack Daniels didn’t commit libel, but because Daniels’ and his hosting company’s new lawyer claims he can not be sued under US law for something he wrote in Indonesia. Because of the US 1st Amendment and an Internet anti-law suit legislation called the “CDA”, Jack Daniels has thus far eluded being tried for something in the USA that should see him go into jail in Bali. Although embarrassingly for Daniels his web site balidiscovery dot com was shut down for two days by his hosting company when the legal action commenced. Internet defamation is the most hotly contested subject in US law right now and was the only thing keeping Mark Austin from having a “prima facie case ruling” against Daniels outside Indonesia which would legally compel the Indonesian authorities to jail Daniels in Bali. “Was”, but that is about to change for Jack! You see recent ground breaking Internet defamation cases in England have been made aware to British citizen Mr. Austin. Basically, Mark Austin can now sue Daniels and his hosting company in England, and he is! Unfortunately for Daniels England does not have an over-protective 1st Amendment and / or CDA type legislation which protects defamers, it will be a simple case of did Daniels libel Austin? What really makes this prospect really interesting though is not whether Austin can put Daniels in jail if or perhaps rather when he wins, but whether Austin can get a judgment against the Balinese police from an English court!
Of course the Balinese police can not be put on trial for corruption, collusion, etc. directly in another country, unfortunately. But the English libel trial against Daniels will obviously cite the collusion that clearly went on between Bali Discovery Tours’ president director Daniels and certain bent police officers, as admitted by Daniel’s own hand / keyboard. Plus the damages Mr. Austin can hope to be awarded against Daniels would logically and legally be increased dramatically by token of the fact that Daniels’ article was clearly written to cause Mr. Austin considerable distress not just by basically calling him a “criminal” when he was not, but by boasting about the unlawful activities the Balinese police had agreed to conduct against Austin at Daniels’ bequest. The likely conclusion is that Daniels has no way to defend this case in the English courts and the judge will have to make an award which will conclude and state the Balinese police acted unlawfully against Mark Austin through corruption with Daniels; we wonder what will the Indonesian Government and Authorities do when that ruling hits the fan!