Categories:Crime

Former 1 Gray’s Inn Square barrister jailed for £80k tax fraud

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  • “It is not, at present, clear to us exactly why the legal profession has been targeted by HMRC" said Bar Council chairman Michael Todd QC.

    Couple of reasons, Mikey - Rohan Pershad QC and Edward Agbaje.

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  • "It is not, at present, clear to us exactly why the legal profession has been targeted by HMRC" ... quote ...Bar Council chairman Michael Todd QC

    Surely the fact that two senior counsel have been convicted of very serious VAT fraud in just a few weeks perhaps justifies the decision to target the legal profession.

    Unlike many businesses counsel have to conduct their business under their real name.
    Instructing solicitors would immediately notice if they received a VAT invoice in the name of anyone other the the counsel they had instructed. It is unlikely any form of complex fraudulent paperwork trail could be used by fraudulent counsel in an attempt to conceal.
    The investigation of an individual using a de-registered or fake VAT number must be rather less complicated than many of the much more complex VAT frauds officers encounter.
    The evidential paperwork necessary to secure a conviction, for anyone of a number of offences available to the prosecutor, is not too demanding. The defences available for such charges are extremely limited.
    The fact that “The law is one of the UK’s strongest exports, and barristers and solicitors bring billions in revenue to the UK every year.” seems absolutely no reason to exclude them from proper and seemingly fruitful investigations.
    It will be interesting to see if these two cases are hopefully the only "rotten apples" uncovered by the investigations. The very nature of this type of offence is such that any others who have offended will now surely be detected.

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  • 12,000+ barristers in private practice and 2 (yes TWO) convictions. We must ALL be at it.
    In guilt, yours,
    A Barrister

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  • The remark made by Michael Todd QC in September was not his finest observation, even though it was made before the two convictions referred to in the report. The huge majority of members of the Bar have got nothing to fear from a tax investigation, and Todd should not have been giving the impression that an investigation is a problem. Barristers pay tax like everyone else and there is no reason why their compliance shouldn't be checked.

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  • As to message above @ 3.44
    I have no doubt that the majority of the 12,000+ barristers deal with thier VAT affairs perfectly properly.
    I could not understand terms of the statement made by Michael Todd in September.
    Surely the last thing any wise tax investigator would want to do is to alert any particular group that they are subject a an investigation.
    Given the ease of checking an individual barristers VAT as to their revenue from legal work, one would not wish to forewarn that very small percentage of deceitful counsel that a unfortunate "accident" with all their incriminating evidence before the arrival of the "VAT Man" might make it much harder to prove the more serious offences involving forgery/false accounting/dishonesty etc .
    Hopefully those two who caused all this unfortunate publicity will turn out to be the only counsel found to have defrauded the system.
    Only time will tell.

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