Played a significant role in two major tax investigations involving premiership football clubs and players as well as other HMRC investigations for high profile individuals with international elements.
England and Wales, 1973
Author of the original chapter on Tax Investigations - Tolley’s Directors’ Handbook
Tax Investigation Practitioners Group
Financial Investigations Bureau
International Bar Association (Corporate counsel to Business Crime Committee)
London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association
Chair on tax investigations at the International Bar Association
I passionately believe that having greater powers brings a duty to be open and fair so that the individual has a chance to argue on a level playing field
I knew since I was about 11 that I was someone who felt strongly about fairness. Arguing the case for myself or others came easily and it was a natural progression to becoming a solicitor at 23.
At 24, I fell into white collar litigation and tax investigations by chance, when one senior lawyer was too busy and the second fell ill and I was asked to represent a man accused of the largest tax fraud the UK had ever known. I was hooked.
The case I am probably proudest of was representing an elderly accountant, on the verge of retirement and with a distinguished career behind him, who was wrongly accused of helping a client to hide income offshore. The former Inland Revenue was open with its concerns and evidence, and even before they came to interview my client I carried out our own investigation which showed the allegations were false. I still have the client’s letter of thanks 25 years on.
The powers of investigatory authorities can be overwhelming. I passionately believe that having greater powers brings a duty to be open and fair so that the individual has a chance to argue on a level playing field.
Being a life-long follower of Watford Football Club sits well with someone who supports the underdog. Many years ago, I was invited to play in a trial and, who knows, if things had gone better my career may have proceeded on another kind of level playing field.