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MAY
18

Jeffrey Lewis interviewed by ITN News 16/05/2017

itn newsJeffrey was asked to give expert advice on the issue of Corporate Manslaughter Prosecutions against NHS trusts. Having had many years successful experience defending major Heath and Safety (HSE) and police investigations/prosecutions (including Corporate Manslaughter and Gross Negligent Manslaughter), he was able to give an update on recent developments, including the new Sentencing Guidelines in this area of law.

 

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MAY
05

New instructions for Lewis Nedas Law specialist lawyers

  1. FraudinvestigationJeffrey Lewis has been instructed in three separate Director Disqualification Proceedings and investigations, brought by The Insolvency Service and BEIS over the last 10 days. Jeffrey has many years of proven successes with these type of proceedings and investigations. He will work with Ian Coupland, Head of our Company Commercial Department on these particular cases;

  2. ACCA Interim Professional Disciplinary hearing success; Siobhain Egan represents a ACCA qualified accountant who is facing serious criminal proceedings in the Crown Court, which concern allegations of fraud within a charity. Our client self reported to the ACCA Disciplinary Committee and the matter was listed for an initial hearing. His advocate was Rishni Nathwani of 5 KBW Chambers, who also represents our client in the forthcoming criminal trial. As a result of intense detailed preparation, the Committee was persuaded not to impose any interim sanction, restriction or suspension order upon our client, after hearing Mr Nathwani's submissions. These focused upon the inherent weaknesses of the criminal case and the defence evidence which we had gathered so far to support his criminal defence at trial. Our client was delighted that he could continue to practice until the outcome of his criminal trial. No order for costs was made against him.

 

If you are facing ACCA Professional Disciplinary Proceedings and require genuinely experienced legal assistance, please contact us on 02073872032 or use our on line enquiry facility here.

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APR
27

Affected by HMRC enquiry into football image rights?

The blaze of publicity surrounding the high profile raids both in U.K.and France on Wednesday 26/4/2017, brings renewed focus on tax avoidance / evasion in Premier league football.

HMRC have described the raids on Newcastle United and West Ham as 'criminal investigations' , and following a request for Mutual Legal Assistance from the French Judicial authorities last year, simultaneous raids and arrests were made in both Countries.

What is it all about?

Apparently and according to various press reports ( The Financial Times ) there are a number of strands to the investigation including the suspicions of 'illicit ' Payments made to players / managers :the use of offshore corporate vehicles for the receipts of monies paid for the use of image or personality , and the concern that such payments are in effect 'disguised remuneration '( avoiding the usual income tax and National insurance rates but availing of heavily reduced Corporation tax rates) Presumably the involvement of the French Judicial authorities implies that the major focus is upon the number of French players / managers who have or are playing in the Premier League and who have been encouraged by their advisers to exploit off shore corporate vehicles .

What are image or personality rights?

Legally these are intellectual property rights surrounding a player or managers image e.g. Trademark , copyright contractual rights , however HMRC are correctly of the view that image or personality rights do not exist in UK law per se - just the intellectual property rights.

The incredible financial value of these 'image rights 'were recognized in the early 2000s and has been highlighted by Wayne Rooney 'image rights ' earnings of £750,000 per an ( disclosed in 2010) and Manchester United's battle with HMRC over a disputed £5.3 million , also in the same year .
Players and / or managers would, upon advice set up Image Rights Companies ( IRCs)and would happily pay the lower Corporation tax of 20% rather than the higher rate personal income tax rate of 45% and National insurance rates, so it was a very attractive proposition for any Premier League player or Manager.

One of the issues, is that not all those who availed of the IRCs were immediately ... er ...recognizable, and their image or personality were not quite as valuable as they may have thought , certainly not according to HMRC.

These investigations have been a long time coming , in December 2016 HMRC informed the Public Accounts Committee reported that their specialist team of investigators were closely looking at 43 players , eight agents and 12 clubs in connection with 'image rights 'payments. (Though The Mail reports that over 200 individuals are under investigation ) The Public Accounts Committee itself reported in January 2017 and concluded that these 'image rights ' arrangements were being exploited for tax avoidance .

The Premier League has set up a 'Voluntary Disclosure ' facility for Premier League clubs to report these arrangements to HMRC in the hope that they will be signed off with HMRCs blessing , the problem is that not all the clubs in that league have signed up to this VDF.

As we highlighted earlier, HMRC have labelled this particular investigation as a criminal investigation into £5million, but is it tax Evasion, which is a criminal offence, or tax avoidance which is not ?
This is of vital importance ... the sentences of imprisonment handed down for tax evasion are huge ( not forgetting the confiscation proceedings that will undoubtedly follow ) However tax avoidance attracts the civil penalty scheme. The Public Accounts Committees conclusions point to tax avoidance.

HMRC investigation and prosecutions - get expert advice

If you are under investigation or you feel that you are likely to be, then you will need immediate expert advice from lawyers equally as familiar with defending HMRC investigation and prosecutions in both the criminal and civil legal jurisdictions.

Jeffrey Lewis has been successfully defending such investigations for over 30 years and works closely with leading specialist barristers and accountants alike.

Please contact Jeffrey on 02073872032 or email jlewis@lewisnedas.co.uk. or use our general onliYou can also use our online enquiry form.

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APR
27

Laura Saunsbury interviewed live on BBC Radio Two by Jeremy Vine

bbc radio 2Yesterday morning our firearms law specialist Laura Saunsbury made a live guest appearance on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio Two. Following the publication yesterday of a report by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) of their investigation into Surrey Police Firearms Licensing Department, Laura was asked by the BBC to provide legal insight and analysis on whether there are adequate checks and controls on individuals who hold or apply for firearms and shotgun certificates.  

The IPCC report was commissioned after John Lowe, who had been issued a shotgun certificate by Surrey Police, fatally shot his partner Christine Lee and one of her daughters in February 2014.  Previously in 2013 Surrey Police had temporarily seized Mr Lowe’s shotguns and certificate from him when Ms Lee’s other daughter Stacy Banner reported to police that Mr Lowe had threatened to kill her whilst holding a shotgun in his hand. Four months later Surrey Police returned Mr Lowe’s guns to him after Ms Banner withdrew her allegation.

In its report the IPCC  has identified a series of failings by firearms licensing officers in Surrey Police to properly assess available evidence and Police intelligence held on Mr Lowe before making the decision to return his guns to him. The publication of the IPCC review should therefore not be used as a justification to call for tighter legal controls on the possession of firearms. Instead, as Laura observed in the BBC Radio interview, this case is a deeply tragic, but fortunately rare, example of how an adequate system of control can be in place but nevertheless things can go terribly wrong if Police firearms licensing departments are understaffed and there is a lack proper training and supervision.

To listen to the radio interview in full click on this link to the programme. The interview with Laura begins 7 minutes into the programme.  

   

 

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APR
20

Siobhain Egan instructed by a Director of offshore trusts subject to a joint NCA/HMRC operation, following earlier international arrests precipitated by the release of the Panama Papers

offshore accountsSiobhain Egan has been instructed by a Director of offshore trusts, subject to a joint NCA/HMRC operation. This arose following earlier international arrests concerning a multi million VAT fraud which was precipitated by the release of the Panama Papers.

HMRC announced in April 2016 that they would immediately and aggressively investigate the huge amount of information affecting UK Nationals.

We have been asked to advise individuals who have made voluntary disclosures to HMRC about monies and assets off shore, who intend to bring the same on shore and by those concerned about criminal investigations and prosecutions.

The Revenue have no qualms about how this data was obtained or seemingly any concerns about the potential admissibility of the evidential material; it was effectively stolen after the law firm at the centre of the leak, Mossack Fonseca, was apparently hacked and the information passed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

We know following the Swiss HSBC information theft in 2010, one individual was prosecuted by HMRC (successfully represented by Jeffrey Lewis of this firm) using information which showed that many hundreds of UK nationals held secret Swiss bank accounts.

We expect HMRC to adopt the same bullish approach with the Panama Papers, confident that the likely response to any legal arguments re exclusion of stolen evidence will be rejected by the Courts, and that the material will be deemed relevant and therefore admissible, regardless of the circumstances surrounding its acquisition.

In the HSBC investigation, HMRC were clear that they had not paid for the Swiss HSBC information and they would appear to be very sensitive about that particular issue, as we saw after the Julius Baer bank information theft in 2012, when HMRC released a very carefully worded response to that incident that they 'would not actively seek to acquire customer data stolen from the Swiss bank' because the employee responsible for the theft was paid by another tax authority for the information.

As yet, nobody knows the full circumstances of the Leaking of the Mossack Fonseca material.

 

If you are affected or likely to be affected by HMRC or NCA investigations into assets/monies held off shore, which could lead to tax evasion or money laundering prosecutions, please contact either Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan of Lewis Nedas Law, to discuss any if these issues. We work with leading tax investigation specialist accountants who can also assist.

Contact us on: 02073872032 or use our on line enquiry facility at www.lewisnedas.co.uk

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