Bribes case taxman gets five years

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Michael Allcock, the most senior Inland Revenue official ever convicted of corruption, was sent to prison for five years yesterday.

Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Judge Peter Beaumont said Allcock's corruption had threatened the integrity of the entire Inland Revenue.

"The public expects and is entitled to expect its servants to be incorruptible. That they are is in part maintained by the knowledge that when public servants are found to fall below those standards, it is met with instant imprisonment," he said.

And he told 47-year-old Allcock: "You are a man of marked ability, drive and determination to succeed. The sadness of your case is that the evidence makes it clear that had you the will to do so, you could have prospered in the Inland Revenue ...

Judge Beaumont said that Allcock's behaviour had cast a shadow over his revenue colleagues and was made worse by the fact that the offences took place over a long period of time.

The scale of the largess he received further exacerbated his crimes. He had abused his position of trust in the Inland Revenue's special office unit said the judge.

Allcock, 47, stood impassively in the dock as the judge delivered his ringing admonishment. The former high-flying civil servant, dressed in a blue two-piece business suit, cream shirt and brown tie stared straight ahead throughout and said nothing as he was sent down.

Earlier the court rejected an application from the prosecution to confiscate Allcock's assets.

In a plea of mitigation, Allcock's lawyer, Anthony Arlidge QC, drew the court's attention to his client's former good work.

He said that over a two-year period Allcock's team was responsible for reclaiming more than pounds 62m in unpaid taxes.

"The Revenue had substantial benefit from his investigative abilities. Now he has obviously thrown away a good deal of the high regard in which he was held," said Mr Arlidge.

The Crown, he added had been unable to prove any loss to the Revenue.

Allcock was joined in the dock by Hishan Alwan, a 57-year-old oil trade consultant of Knightsbridge, central London, who had yesterday been found guilty of supplying the disgraced tax inspector with the services of a prostitute, Michelle Corrigan.

In sentencing him to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, Judge Beaumont said to Alwan: "In monetary terms, the cost to you was small but the benefit it brought to you was enormous."

Alwan's counsel, Mr Stephen Solley told the court that his client intended to pay the Inland Revenue an estimated pounds 200,000 in back taxes.