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MAY
29

The Benefits of Excellent Legal Advice

Sherene Wallis represented a client who for the first time faced allegations of drink/driving and dangerous driving.

It was alleged that whilst over the drink/drive limit, our client drove with the wheels of his car off the road, drove on the opposite side of the road, and sped over a roundabout.

He faced a sentence in the Crown Court and before the sentencing hearing he disputed the facts as the Crown wished to put them. The matter was set down for a Newton hearing and the Judge reserved the matter for herself, stating that should she find against him a custodial sentence was very much on the cards.

Sherene, carefully, took our client through the mechanics of a Newton Hearing (often known as ‘the Prosecutor’s Darling’).

As a result, our client wrote to the Judge to apologise, the Newton hearing was vacated and a bundle of glowing references helped to persuade the Judge to impose a suspended sentence.

The result: another delighted (and relieved) Sherene Wallis client.

 

 

 

 

 

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MAY
28

Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud after Thirteen Years

A man who went on the run after he was charged with involvement in a £5.5 million VAT fraud, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison at Manchester Crown Court this week.

Jonathan Nugent, 53, director of a computer company, was originally charged with the offence in 1998. He was released on bail but fled to the USA in 2000, before his trial began.

Last year Nugent was tracked down by the HMRC Fugitive Unit with the help of the US authorities. He was deported to the Republic of Ireland on immigration offences and then extradited to the UK on a European Arrest Warrant to face trial.

Nugent, a former computer dealer, was a director of Clear Technology Limited, based in Warrington, Cheshire. Investigations by former Customs and Excise officers (now HMRC) suggested that Nugent and others smuggled computer components from Hong Kong and Eire into the UK between 1994 and 1998. This allowed them to evade UK customs duty on importation, and VAT on sales within the UK.

According to HMRC, Nugent played a key role in the scheme, introducing the smuggled goods into his company records by using false invoices. These were then used to support false VAT declarations, reducing the VAT due to HMRC and resulting in the evasion of approximately £5.5 million. Nugent was also found to have laundered the profits from the fraud by either making large cash withdrawals or organising transfers to false business accounts set up by his co-conspirators. The money was eventually transferred into accounts in Hong Kong and Switzerland in the names of the main conspirators, including Nugent.

Nugent pleaded guilty to the charges against him on 3rd May 2013 and has now been sentenced to four years six months in jail.

Tax prosecution is a fast moving area of law, which is growing increasingly important for individuals and businesses. If you find yourself caught up in a tax prosecution you will need proactive advice and representation.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice on defending HMRC prosecutions please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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MAY
27

Traffic Courts in Every Area

Every area is to have a dedicated ‘Traffic Court’ to deal with low-level road traffic offences, Justice Minister Damian Green announced last week.

There are around half a million summary motoring cases heard every year, including speeding, traffic light and document offences. Although these offences are relatively minor they often take longer from offence to completion than much more serious cases.

A task force of partners across the criminal justice system was set up to look at why this was the case and to recommend how the system could be improved, to ensure the cases are dealt with both justly and efficiently. The traffic courts are just one of the suggestions resulting from the initiative.

“Enforcing traffic laws is hugely important for road safety, and saving lives. However these cases take nearly six months on average from offence to completion, despite the fact that over 90% of cases result in a guilty plea or are proved in absence – this is simply unacceptable,” said Damian Green.

“The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency,” he added.

The types of offences that could be dealt with by the traffic courts include:

  • lighting offences;
  • noise offences;
  • speed limit offences;
  • vehicle insurance offences; and
  • obstruction, waiting and parking offences.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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MAY
26

EU Targets Tax Fraud and Evasion

The fight against tax fraud and tax evasion was pushed further up the European agenda this week, following a high profile meeting of the European Council of Ministers.

EU leaders have agreed that, while taxation is an issue that should be left in the hands of member states, fraud and tax evasion reach across borders and therefore can only be tackled properly if member states work together.

‘Clear deadlines for result’

Meeting in Brussels on 22nd May, the Council discussed a number of measures, including:

  • The extension of the automatic exchange of information within the EU and across the globe. Within the EU, this will take the form of changes that are due to be made to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation;
  • Moves made earlier this month to work with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino on the tax rules they apply to savings income;
  • The new VAT fraud directives – the Council has called for these to be adopted by the end of June.

"It's high time to step up the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion,” said President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. "So I am pleased that today's European Council managed to unblock a number of frozen files. There is movement, a real acceleration, with clear deadlines for result.”
 
The developments come on top of a number of other recent moves to tackle tax evasion and fraud.

The ‘tax gap’

Only this week, MEPs called on member states to halve the €1 trillion uncollected "tax gap" by 2020. They want governments to agree measures to clamp down on tax havens, close avoidance loopholes and combat aggressive tax planning.

In a series of resolutions, MEPS put forward several proposals, including:

  • That member states should agree a clear EU-wide definition of "tax haven" and draw up a joint blacklist of these jurisdictions.
  • No EU funding or state assistance should go to firms that breach EU tax standards, and any firm bidding for a public procurement contract should be required to disclose details of any tax-related penalties or convictions. Public authorities should also be entitled to terminate the contract if a supplier subsequently breaches tax compliance obligations.
  • Member states should work together to harmonise tax bases, enforce measures to prevent firms from shifting profits to tax havens to avoid paying tax and improve the cross-checking of customs and tax data so as to reduce VAT fraud.

HMRC investigates tax evasion

There have been developments in the UK too - earlier this month, HMRC announced that it was working with the tax administrations of the United States and Australia on data which reveals extensive use of complex offshore structures to conceal assets.

To date HMRC has identified over 100 people who have benefitted from these structures and a number of these are now being investigated for offshore tax evasion. It has also identified more than 200 UK professional advisors who helped to set up these arrangements and who will also be scrutinised.

British Overseas Territories

The Treasury also recently announced that more Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies had agreed to sign up to the Government’s new approach on global tax transparency.

Countries involved in the strategy will provide a greater degree of information about bank accounts held in their jurisdictions.

Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Gibraltar have all committed to pilot a bilateral exchange of information with the UK, and a multi-lateral exchange with France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.

“This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance and sets the global standard in the fight against tax evasion,” the Chancellor, George Osborne, said at the time.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

For specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here

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MAY
25

The Biggest Regrets of Home Buyers

The Telegraph (25/05/2013) reports the conclusions of a survey by ‘Which? Money’ focusing upon the regrets of homebuyers.

The biggest issues would appear to be feeling pressurised to pay more for the property, failing to order a full structural survey (invariably to save money in the short term), endowment mortgages (a story in itself), and insufficient research into the area into which they are buying.

This is why it is important to instruct fully qualified solicitors who can advise you about all the possible pitfalls of buying property in London and the South East.

Many purchasers, again in a bid to save money, instruct virtual law firms or conveyancing factories staffed by paralegals, on the basis that they offer cheap rates. They simply cannot provide the quality of advice and specialist experience that mature, specialist solicitors can. We work with leading surveyors and top London estate agents, have an excellent reputation, and provide a personally tailored service for YOU, ensuring that all of the possible regrets expressed by the respondents in the ‘Which? Money’ survey are addressed and any pitfalls avoided.

If you are buying or selling a property and want a first class service contact Richard McConnell, Janak Bakrania, Layna Thompson.

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