Categories:Crime,UK

Former 39 Essex Street silk guilty of £600,000 VAT fraud

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  • Bizarre. His poor family.

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  • With Solicitors' Professional Indemnity Insurance rates amongst the highest in all professions - because of solicitors pocketing their client’s funds (and supposedly running off to the Bahamas etc) – this isn’t the time for those in glass houses to throw stones.
    I also find it amusing that Harry Redknapp is cleared of all tax avoidance when it is found that he has substantial funds in a bank account in his dog’s name, yet an ethnic minority origin QC is convicted despite thinking that his chambers paid the VAT (at 17.5%) due out of the circa. 22% it took from his fees.
    Strange that, wouldn’t you say?

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  • Re: Anonymous at 4.46pm. What on earth is the relevance of the description of this swindler as being of "ethnic minority origin"? He was a highly paid (justified, no doubt, by being very talented) silk who, for 12 years, failed to account for a significant amount of tax. His origins, ethnic or otherwise, have nothing to do with it.

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  • Total agree with Anonymous at 5.15pm.
    I can't believe that one juror thought he was not guilty. Anonymous 4.46 is obviously myopic and willing to turn the other cheek on a totally misplaced and irrelevant basis.

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  • HMRC should take a greater interest in chambers and law firms.
    Always remember seeing a two partner law firm just outside Manchester where one of the partners, unbeknownst to the other, was had set up a nominee company which got all the disbursement elements of his projects.

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  • No doubt "anonymous" at 4.46pm also finds it equally unjust that an an "ethnic minority origin QC" has been so clearly discriminated against his whole life that he has only made it to be a QC earning top buck. How tough it must be in England to get ahead if from a "minority" background.
    I do agree that the Redknapp decision seemed bizarre, but suspect that any "influence" here (if there was any) would have been more to do with his then being in contention for the England managerial role rather than anything else.

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  • I remember working with Rohan Pershad as a trainee solicitor on a litigation case. That was more than 10 years ago.
    In criminal cases the question is whether there is criminal intent. Now, he basically argued stupidity or ignorance. The jury did not believe him, and found intent i.e. dishonesty. It may have been the invalid VAT number that did it.

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  • Such a shame for the man and his family.
    You wonder how he ever dreamed he could get away with it. If 600k is 17.5% and he also had to pay 22% he still made £2m in that time. I can only imagine that being part of the barrister elite and the rareity of such cases, affected his judgement. Very sad.

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  • There can be no other explanation for his conviction by the jury. The multicultural jury were BNP loving racists itching for a chance to show this upstart who was boss.

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  • Hard to find any sympathy for him - he was a very rich guy living a very comfortable life who was simply greedy and didn't want to make his contribution to the public good. Status obsession is always depressing, but when showing off your wealth is so important to you that you're willing to break the law for it, a short jail term is the wake-up call that you and your social circle need.

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  • Rohan was a fraud silk at a leading set. This means he was highly gifted and that his explanation was highly implausible within the context of his skill set and intelligence. The jury clearly agreed with this view and not even Mukul Chawla QC (a brilliant man) could convince them otherwise. It is v sad.

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  • While a 18-month VAT straddle may be useful for advance funding of pro bono cases, it did not occur to this top flight barrister did to plead this case. Is it academic to inquire whether his former clients might now be justified in demanding refunds? I would.
    In any event, a Magic Circle firm could have discretely distributed a backhander. That's what they do best. Think Kapthung nand you'll get it in a flash.
    Ave

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  • One issue which has yet to arise is, bearing in mind the QC appointments process and the supposed consideration of your dealings with HMRC, how was this man appointed a QC?

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  • It is crazy for a fraud silk to suggest that he thought VAT would be paid from chambers' fees. He has decades of experience and knows the basics of how the system works. Not to mention he could easilyhave checked or just read his contract with chambers. I'm surprised he ran this argument rather than just pleading guilty.
    I can't believe the comments of people who think he was convicted because of his minority status. Being an ethnic minority does not give you a free pass to commit blatent tax fraud.

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  • Madness not to plead guilty on the facts as reported.

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  • How many times during the rest of his life will he re-live that moment when he decided to cross the line? The moment he made a conscious decision not to account for the VAT that was due, and to become a criminal.
    It's really hard to imagine why he did it. He was clearly earning good money, so it can hardly have been financial pressure. The only logical explanation was pure greed. If so, I really have no sympathy for him, particularly as he appears to have been not just greedy but arrogant and stupid as well as evidenced by his not guilty plea and laughable defence.
    Once he's locked up and had access to the prison computers perhaps he will post an explanation on the Lawyer's website to enlighten us.

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