Graham Aaronson, the architect of the government’s clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance schemes, is to act on behalf of investors in film scheme Eclipse 35, the Mail on Sunday has reported.
The scheme is backed by around 300 wealthy investors, including Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) won a tribunal case against the scheme last year, a ruling that will deny investors £117 million in tax relief.
Aaronson, who drew up the government’s general anti-avoidance rule, said he did not see any conflict in representing the investors. ‘You can’t impose your judgment on whether something should be argued in court because you may not like the scheme as a whole. If these schemes are abusive, let’s put in place a rule to stop them,' he said.
A HMRC spokesman told the Mail: ‘Aaronson is a leading tax barrister, advising a range of clients. He is not a Revenue employee and is free to represent commercial clients in the normal way.’