No5 Chambers’ Gibbs represents Hackney in fraud hearing at Manchester Crown Court

Richard Gibbs of No 5 Chambers has represented Paul Hackney, who pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud totalling £2.3m, which made his conviction one of the top five secured by HMRC in 2013. 

He featured on HMRC’s new year’s rogues gallery website as a result. He was the most senior of a 17-strong conspiracy that ran a complex VAT repayment fraud using the sale of fictitious concrete crushing machines with the production of fake invoices and the reclaiming of VAT that had in actual fact not been paid because the goods never existed.

After conviction, HMRC sought to recover £1.6m from him through Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings, but after a multi-day hearing before Manchester Crown Court, where Gibbs represented Hackney, the Crown agreed a settlement proposed and ordered him to pay an agreed figure of £50,000 — less than three per cent of the figure they sought.