Silk in court to face £600,000 VAT fraud charge

Former 39 Essex Street silk Rohan Pershad QC has appeared in court charged with a £600,000 VAT fraud.

Rohan Pershad QC
Rohan Pershad QC

Kingsley Napley partner Angus McBride represented Pershad at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court this morning.

He indicated that his client will plead not guilty to a charge of allegedly cheating the public purse by not declaring VAT on services he provided as a barrister between 1999 and 2011.

18 Red Lion Court barrister Andrew Marshall is instructed to prosecute the case by HMRC assistant director John Pointing .

The charge is an indictable only offence and can only be dealt with at the crown court.

Pershad, who spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address, will next appear at Blackfriars Crown Court on 28 August for a plea and case management hearing.

McBride said his client had been served with all the evidence and wished to go to trial as soon as possible.

Earlier this week, 39 Essex Street said that Pershad had withdrawn his membership by “mutual agreement” until the criminal proceedings against him are resolved (31 July 2012).

Pershad, a clinical negligence barrister, took silk in 2011 (14 March 2011). He was junior to 39 Essex Street’s Edwin Glasgow QC in his representation of oil company Trafigura in a dispute over the dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast (12 May 2010).

Pershad was 39 Essex Street’s 39th tenant, having trained at 2 Crown Office Row (26 July 1999).

He made a statement following the charges last week denying “any dishonest activity” saying he would “defend myself vigorously”.

He said that he was “extremely disappointed” that the CPS had issued a public statement on his case while he was still providing further information to HMRC and CPS on his “personal tax affairs”(26 July 2012).

Keri Ashworth-Beaumont, prosecutor for the CPS central fraud division, said: “The evidence suggests that he charged and received VAT payments on services he provided whilst practising as a barrister but which he knowingly failed to declare or pay to HMRC. This is an offence contrary to common law.”