Cycling star Bradley Wiggins has been named as one of the 400 investors in a £100 million charity tax avoidance scheme, according to a Times report.
The cycling champion, who was the first Briton to win the Tour de France, was named by the report as one of the investors in the Cup Trust scheme.
A spokesperson for Wiggins told the Times last night he has ‘settled all tax liabilities a number of years ago and has paid all taxes due’ and there were no ‘no open inquiries with HMRC’. The amount Wiggins invested in the scheme is not clear.
The Cup Trust scheme, which was shut down by the Charity Commission in 2017, carried out artificial asset purchases to create tax exemptions for investors, according to the report.
Around 400 investors are thought to have paid to into the scheme. Had the scheme gone ahead they would have been provided with a saving of £137,500 per person or £55 million in total by exploiting gift aid tax relief rules on charity donations.
The Times report also said the charity tried to claim £46 million in gift aid from HMRC by using the value of the donations. HMRC later rejected these gift aid claims.
MP Margaret Hodge, former chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, told the Times: ‘To exploit a mechanism designed to encourage charitable giving in order to avoid tax is just disgusting.’
In 2010 the Cup Trust scheme received £176 million in donations – more than other major charities.
HMRC said it works with the Charity Commission ‘to make sure that charities meet their responsibilities and to ensure the UK’s tax rules are respected across the board’.