Finance and football united in tax avoidance

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of highly paid City bankers and chief executives make up the vast majority of members of a tax avoidance scheme at the centre of a crackdown by the Revenue.

Alain Grisay, chief executive of F&C Asset Management, and Lance Uggla, who runs the financial data firm Markit, are among representatives from big business who are members of the Eclipse 35 film investment partnership loophole, an analysis of the accounts by i has found.

Coverage of Eclipse 35, which was ruled against in a tax tribunal this week, has focused on Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson and Nobby Solano, the ex-Newcastle United player. Other football stars including Bolton Wanderers' Jussi Jaaskelainen and the former Ireland international Graham Kavanagh are also named as members in the documents.

But it is the vast swathe of City traders, hedge fund managers and private equity advisers which stand out, giving a rare insight into how the financial world's richest players shield their assets from the taxman.

Of the nearly 300 names in the list of members, of those whose identities are traceable, there were 11 managers at Deutsche Bank, 10 former and current Goldman Sachs bankers, eight traders and managers at UBS, and more than 25 hedge fund managers from big firms including Brevan Howard and Walker Crips. Other banks whose staff feature repeatedly include Citibank, Barclays Capital, the broker Icap, JP Morgan and RBS.

Most of the City whizzkids involved appear to be traders or heads of departments likely to be earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, such as Stefan Tsonev, a managing director at JP Morgan, Magid Shenouda at Goldman Sachs, and Raymond Key of Deutsche. None was willing or available for comment.

Also appearing is Philippa Rose, sometimes claimed to be the most powerful headhunter in the City. She also declined to comment on her investment.