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Another Success for Bill Browder & the Magnitsky Campaign

tax fraudFCPA blog reports that the Canadian senate has adopted a motion calling for sanctions against those alleged to have been involved in the torture and killing of the late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and the cover up of the huge tax fraud exposed by Mr Magnitsky following his instruction by Bill Browder. The Canadian lower house adopted a similar resolution and motion.

This of course follows the US Magnitsky Act passed in 2012 and represents another triumph for Mr Browder, who is the driving force behind the Magnitsky Campaign.

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1575 Hits

Another Excellent Success for LNL in Tax Fraud Prosecution

HMRCWe acted for an individual who faced a complex and long-running tax fraud investigation and prosecution. The issue focused on whether or not our client was an employee or a trustee of a company. The Company itself had been the subject of an HMRC investigation, and we discovered when preparing the case that the Company had been less than truthful with HMRC about important facts. We were able to renegotiate the amount that was due to HMRC and our client pleaded guilty to a lesser case as a result. He received a suspended sentence of imprisonment, even though the relevant Sentencing Guidelines indicated a starting point of an immediate custodial sentence.

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1943 Hits

Recent Instructions for Our Extradition, Criminal, Money Laundering, Trading Standards, Tax Fraud Defence Lawyers

  • super-lawyer-comicJeffrey Lewis and Rhys Mardon represent a well-established businessman facing extradition relating to allegations over sixteen years old.
  • Jeffrey Lewis advising individuals affected by a major Trading Standards enquiry into the fashion trade.
  • Siobhain Egan and Unan Choudhury represent an individual facing a full money laundering investigation by the Anti-Money Laundering Unit (New Scotland Yard).
  • Siobhain Egan represents a company director facing sexual harassment investigation investigated by police.
  • Richard Demczak is advising on a dangerous dog investigation; the allegation is that a Labrador scratched a police assistant on private property, following new legislation.
  • Rhys Mardon is representing an individual facing a tax fraud prosecution; the issue is whether our client was an employee or not.
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1977 Hits

Lionel Messi to Stand Trial for Tax Evasion: The Story so Far

ujfaInternational footballer, Lionel Messi, will now be involved in a criminal trial after an appeal against being named in an alleged tax fraud case was rejected by a judge in Barcelona.

The appeal was based on the premise that there was no evidence that the player had been involved in any wrongdoing. The captain of the Argentina squad had his father manage all of his financial affairs and act as his representative. The fraud was alleged to have began before the footballer came of age.

The public prosecutor in Spain challenged the appeal and the judge rejected the appeal, the judge said:

“In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them”

Messi along with his father Jorge Messi, have five days to appeal against the ruling.

Background to the Case

Lionel Messi, four-time winner of Player of the Year, along with his father Jorge Messi, stand accused of defrauding authorities of more than €4 million.

Whilst both deny the allegations, it is suspected that they used companies in the UK, Switzerland, Belize and Uruguay to sell the rights to use images of the football star in 2006-2009 – this meant that they were able to avoid tax obligations in Spain.

However, in August this year, Jorge Messi made a payment of €5 million to the Spanish Tax authorities, which accounted for the €4.16 million owed plus interest accrued. Lionel Messi stated that he and his father:

 “Have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations”.

It is estimated that Messi’s net salary is around €16 million per season – not including the millions made from endorsements by commercial sponsors such as Adidas, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.

However, a complex set of companies based in the UK, Switzerland, Belize and Uruguay were used to disguise his income from tax authorities.

Initially, tax prosecutors lodged a writ at a court in Gava, just outside Barcelona where Messi lives. In response to this Messi said:

"We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about the news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants, who will take care of clarifying this situation."

Earlier this year, the public prosecutor in Spain put forward that Jorge Messi was entirely responsible for the decision to use the corporate structure. However, a court in Barcelona has rejected this appeal and stated that Lionel Messi must stand trial for the alleged tax evasion. Messi has 5 days to appeal the decision.

The Pending Trial

Lionel Messi a now faces criminal charges over the multi-million euro tax evasion scheme. It is speculated that the Spanish prosecutors will focus on the secrecy aspects of the case. The prosecutors say that the basis of the scheme was hiding the identity of the true owners of the companies, which were registered in the UK, Switzerland, Uruguay and Belize.

The deals were structured to keep Messi’s name hidden, with the money being ciphered through the network of companies to make it increasingly opaque.

Messi denies the allegations and says his father carried out the deals without his knowledge. Whilst his father is most likely to have a greater role in the tax avoiding transactions, the court in the appeal said that Lionel Messi “could have known and consented” to the implementation of the corporate structure to avoid tax liabilities. On these grounds the prosecution of Lionel Messi is to go ahead.

The potential sentence for Messi if found guilty, could be two to six years in jail for each of the three tax evasion charges against him. He may also be required to pay a fine of up to six times the amount he defrauded the authorities of.

Contact Us

If you are facing a HMRC enquiry / investigation contact Jeffrey Lewis on 0207 387 2032 or using our online enquiry form.

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1866 Hits

New Instructions for LNL Lawyers

lawSiobhain Egan is instructed in the following matters:
1. Acting for a teacher accused of raping a 14 year old pupil;
2. Instructed to dispute an Interpol warrant;
3. Asked to advise on an HMRC investigation into a nationwide chain of bureau de change;
4. Instructed to represent an individual facing an allegation of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Jeffrey Lewis has been instructed in yet another VAT fraud.

Keith Wood is instructed to represent a defendant facing an HMRC tax fraud prosecution in relation to a film tax scheme.

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2081 Hits

and Awards

legal 500 uk leading firm 2017 chambers leading firm 2017