39 Essex Street silk charged with VAT fraud

39 Essex Street silk Rohan Pershad QC has been charged with a £600,000 VAT fraud.

Rohan Pershad
Rohan Pershad

Pershad is charged with deliberately failing to declare VAT payments to HM Revenue and Customs on services he billed for between 1 June 1999 and 24 September 2011, the CPS said in a statement today. He is charged with a single offence covering the 12-year period.

The CPS said Pershad was working as a barrister at the time and is charged with “knowingly” not paying a total of £600,000 in tax.

The barrister has instructed Kinsgley Napley partner Angus McBride to represent him.

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).

The charge an indictable offence and will have to go to the Crown Court.

Keri Ashworth-Beaumont, prosecutor for the CPS central fraud division said today: “I have advised HM Revenue and Customs that Rohan Pershad QC should be prosecuted for a single office of cheating the public revenue.

“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.

“This decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. After careful consideration of all the evidence, I am satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute this case.”

Pershad will appear before Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 2 August.

Kingsley Napley this afternoon (26 July) issued a statement on behalf of Pershad responding to the allegations. It read: “The CPS has announced today that it has issued a summons in relation to an allegation stemming from my personal tax affairs.  The CPS has issued this summons while I am still providing HMRC and the CPS with further information and representations setting out why I am not guilty of any offence.  

“I am extremely disappointed that the CPS has seen fit to issue a press release whilst discussions are on-going.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I deny any dishonest activity in relation to my tax affairs and if a decision is made to pursue this matter in court, I will defend myself vigorously.”

The set declined to comment.