A whistleblower suing Hillsong in the Federal Court has alleged the megachurch moved millions of dollars in payments through overseas entities to avoid scrutiny by the Australian charities regulator.
ABC Investigations can reveal the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) launched an investigation into Hillsong in March, which is examining its compliance obligations as a registered charity.
The existence of the ACNC probe was revealed in Federal Court documents lodged by former Hillsong employee Natalie Moses on Wednesday as part of a Fair Work case against the church.
The documents allege dubious financial record-keeping, the misappropriation of church finances, and claim Hillsong leaders used tax-free money for “large cash gifts” to Hillsong founder Brian Houston and his family.
The 25-page statement of claim filed by Ms Moses’s lawyers at Maurice Blackburn includes accusations Hillsong illegally hid its international transfers by making payments through its US-based entities.
Hillsong Church is yet to file a response in the Federal Court and Ms Moses is the sole source of the allegations in her statement of claim.
The church’s lawyers told the ABC it will defend the matter.
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