Barrister convicted of tax fraud

LINCOLN's Inn barrister Bernard Cunningham and three others have been convicted of defrauding the Inland Revenue after the longest ever tax fraud trial.

Cunningham, of Michael Jump's chambers at 24 Old Buildings, was convicted on two counts of falsely misrepresenting or concealing the true nature of purchases and commissions paid by several companies to other businesses.

A tax barrister, Cunningham is the brother-in-law of high-profile barrister Helena Kennedy QC. His solicitor, Michael Fisher of Christian Fisher & Co, says he will appeal this week.

Christopher Charlton, a non-qualified accountant running his own firm, Charltons, and a former director of Derby County Football Club, was convicted on 11 counts. Jersey-based accountant Terence Kitchin was convicted on seven counts. Another accountant, David Wheeler, formerly a partner of Farmiloes, was found guilty on one count.

The court heard that Charlton promoted fraudulent tax saving schemes to his firm's clients and company directors.

The schemes reduced the apparent taxable profits of UK businesses by transferring funds to companies administered in Jersey. These funds were made available for their personal use.

Cunningham was found guilty of dishonestly dealing with inquiries by the revenue which might have brought the true facts of the scheme to light.

Sentencing and the hearing of indictments against two other defendants will take place on 16 September.