HMRC goes after the bar as Pershad denies VAT fraud

HMRC is gearing up for a crackdown on the bar as former 39 Essex Street silk Rohan Pershad QC appeared at crown court on VAT fraud charges.

Rohan Pershad QC
Rohan Pershad QC

18 Red Lion Court barrister Andrew Marshall, who is prosecuting Pershad for allegedly cheating the public purse out of £600,000 in VAT, said he had a “series” of similar cases “in the pipeline”.

Pershad, who has withdrawn his membership of 39 Essex Street by “mutual consent” until the proceedings have finished (31 July 2012) , entered a not guilty plea at Blackfriars Crown Court this morning. He will face trial on 28 January 2013.

However, his barrister, Sarah Selby of 9-12 Bell Yard, standing in for Mukul Chawla QC of the same set, asked for an earlier date because the proceedings are having a “devastating effect” on her client’s practice on a “week-to-week” basis.

Selby and Chawla are instructed for Pershad by Kingsley Napley partner Angus McBride.

Marshall is instructed by HMRC assistant director John Pointing.

Clinical negligence barrister Pershad, who took silk in 2011, has previously issued a statement through his lawyers to say he denies any dishonesty and will defend the allegations “vigorously” (2 August 2012).

It is alleged that Pershad deliberately failed to declare VAT payments on services he provided while practising as a barrister between 1999 and 2011.