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IFA boss and 12 others face £2.5m tax avoidance charges

by Michelle Abrego on Jan 31, 2014 at 08:30

IFA boss and 12 others face £2.5m tax avoidance charges

Director of advice firm Greystone Financial Services Neil Williams-Denton is one of 13 people to be charged with using a film-production scheme to avoid a combined £2.5 million in tax.

Following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised charges against three women and 10 men in connection with allegations they conspired to cheat the revenue out of tax with a ‘complex film scheme’.

The thirteen were charged at City of London Magistrates Court yesterday and are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court for a hearing on 13 February.

The CPS has alleged that between 1 January 2007 and 8 February 2012, 10 of the defendants conspired to submit false tax returns in order to claim tax relief on now dissolved partnership Edinburgh and Walsh’s losses. Of those 10, four were members of the partnership.

During the same period, seven of the 13 are also alleged to have conspired to commit a similar fraud relating to the firm Jenkins and Hyde and Maclellan. Of those seven, three were members of that partnership.

Williams-Denton and Elspeth Mundy, an admin manager at Greystone, face two counts of conspiracy to cheat the revenue.

Paul Schofield, a partner at Farleys Solicitors, who is representing Williams-Denton, said: ‘My client completely and utterly denies the charges brought. He is shocked by this prosecution and will vigorously contest the case. He is determined to establish his innocence and to retain his impeccable character and reputation.’

In order to claim the full amount of the losses each member has to demonstrate they were active partners, which HMRC regards as over 10 hours a week of activity.

Andrew Penhale, deputy head of fraud at the CPS, said: ‘Seven of the thirteen individuals were investment bankers, and none had any background in film development, the trading business for which both partnerships were apparently set up.’

Terence Potter and Kimberley Murphy face three charges of conspiracy to cheat the revenue, and the remaining nine individuals face one count of the same offence.

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16 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Julian Strauss

Jan 31, 2014 at 08:50

Surely you mean tax evasion and not tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion is not.

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Paul Barnard

Jan 31, 2014 at 09:14

Might mean three women and not "three woman" too.

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Michelle Abrego

Jan 31, 2014 at 09:14

@Julian you're probably right, but we're just playing it safe as it was a tax-avoidance scheme that they're being charged over.

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Man in Black

Jan 31, 2014 at 09:22

The thoughts of all right thinking people will of course with Neil and his colleagues, and I sincerely hope they win through.

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Stuart Rathbone

Jan 31, 2014 at 09:35

No such thing as tax avoidance, your tax liability for any given period is that witch is due by law as a result of your actions.

If you undertake certain actions to reduce your tax liability that is your choice, but as is often said letting the tax tail wag the investment dog is not always a good idea.

With regard to incentives which could and probably do drive the attractiveness of the more esoteric actions of those with high tax liabilities a chap name Laffer has a theory about it that you may wish to mug up on.

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dave king

Jan 31, 2014 at 09:52

Was the film production company run by Bialystock & Bloom by any chance?

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Ian T Coley

Jan 31, 2014 at 10:07

Again good!

Now let's have a go at Starbucks, Microsoft, Google, Amazon et al and force them to pay the tax they should be paying, by agreeing global legislation to consign the manipulative, cheating abuse of rules and regs to the dustbin.

Ian Coley


Medical Investment & Advisory Services LLP.

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One is afraid

Jan 31, 2014 at 10:21

Using a film production scheme eh?

Were they caught on camera?

Do I understand that they could have been undertaking realistic research for a film called "A Day in Life of a Large Corporation" or "The Untouchables - The Sequel"?

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Stuart Rathbone

Jan 31, 2014 at 10:35

Ian, if you were a woman I would describe you as an ingénue but as there is no male counterpart it will have to suffice.

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Ian T Coley

Jan 31, 2014 at 10:54


I'd say "hopeless idealist" rather than ingénue. I'm not naïve enough to believe it will happen! :-)

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Stuart Rathbone

Jan 31, 2014 at 11:05

Fair comment Ian, the world needs as many idealists as possible, hopeless or otherwise ;-)

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Man in Black

Jan 31, 2014 at 11:37


There's no such thing as "global legislation" and in any event, the world needs tax competition as one of the few constraints on Government excesses and abuses.

Stopping multi-nationals avoiding tax whilst their cleaning ladies (and us) pay it is a different issue. It just needs UK legislation to say to UK companies (or companies trading from UK establishments) that an expense is an expense and a dividend is a dividend and thou shalt not confuse the two for the purposes of your tax bill.

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Man in Black

Jan 31, 2014 at 11:38

On that note, I've just remembered I'm due to file my income and my corporation tax returns today. I wonder which one my earnings will be appearing on? (assuming I don't go to the pub instead).

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Jan 31, 2014 at 15:25


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Bruce Johnson

Feb 03, 2014 at 16:14

I've just brought the film rights to this story.

Anyone fancy investing in the film?

Please send cheques to "Camera And Sounds Hire" or if it's easier for you, just CA.S.H.

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Cheshire Man

Mar 10, 2014 at 23:00

Did I miss the TV coverage of the cops knocking down the door at Greystone and seeing the suspects being escorted out by the cops?

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