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George Michael and Michael Caine named in £1.2bn tax avoidance scheme

George Michael and Michael Caine named in £1.2bn tax avoidance scheme

George Michael, Sir Michael Caine and Gary Barlow have been named among 1,600 people who tried to shield £1.2 billion in Liberty, an aggressive tax avoidance scheme.

The list of investors in Liberty, which has been leaked to the Times, includes businessmen, doctors, QCs and a loan shark convicted of rape, the paper reports.

Singer Katie Melua put £850,000 into the scheme in 2008 and two years later was nominated for Christian Aid's Tax Superhero award after saying she paid nearly half her income in tax. The paper reports that she has since paid the tax due on the sheltered money.

Liberty was a legal scheme, which generated huge offshore losses which could be written off against investors' income tax bills. HMRC's legal challenge went to court in March and is set to go to tribunal but new Treasury powers have enabled the government to claw back money.

This clampdown has also seen film investment schemes come under fire with David Beckham among those caught in an Ingenious Media scheme. The company this warned investors that they could face tax liabilities.

Celebrities pumped money into the Liberty scheme, with Gary Barlow investing £4.46 million, Anne Robinson £4 million and George Michael £6.2 million. Michael Caine tried to shelter £600,000.

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