Treasury grills private equity fat cats

The great and the… er… good of the private equity world were hauled up in front of the Treasury Select Committee last week to answer questions about their generous tax breaks.

Executives from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira, Carlyle Group and 3i were grilled by MPs for two hours.

Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Latham & Watkins and Slaughter and May all have roles acting for the houses, but refused to comment on whether they were consulted pre-committee. That said, whether they were or not is irrelevant – it’s the outcome of the committee’s deliberations that count.

Private equity executives are being vilified for the level of corporate gains tax they pay, but no law was changed to allow the vehicles in the UK and no loophole has been created since.

It’s hard to find a tax lawyer who says a change is workable – but then, perhaps that would be biting the hand that feeds you.