George Michael and Michael Caine accused of tax avoidance through Liberty scheme

Gary Barlow and members of the Arctic Monkeys are also thought to have been involved with the tax strategy

George Michael, Sir Michael Caine and four members of the Arctic Monkeys have been accused of avoiding taxes through an investment scheme called Liberty.

Other investors in the Leeds-based tax strategy include Gary Barlow, Katie Melua, Anne Robinson and Paul Nicholson, a loan shark convicted of rape. They are among more than 1,600 who allegedly tried to shelter £1.2billion, making it one of the biggest known tax avoidance schemes.

The firm generated large artificial losses offshore and allowing them to avoid taxes on other income.

HM Revenue & Customs have been investigating Liberty for a decade, which is legal, but the case will go to court in March next year.

Under George Osborne’s new rules, investors will be forced to pay back supposed bills before the scheme is challenged in court. Their money will be refunded if the HMRC lose.

Melua – who was nominated for Christian Aid’s 2008 Tax Superhero Award – sought to shelter £850,000 through Liberty, while Michael tried to shelter £6.2 million in record and tour sales. A spokesperson for Michael gave a “no comment”, when approached by The Independent.

Caine attempted to shelter at least £600,000, according to documentation obtained by The Times.

Gary Barlow - who has already faced backlash for his involvement in tax avoidance scheme Icebreaker earlier this year – invested £4.46million in Liberty. Anne Robinson invested £4 million in the initiative.

Spokespeople for Barlow and the Arctic Monkeys declined to comment, while spokespeople for Robinson and Caine could not be reached.

Melua’s lawyers told The Times that although she had invested in Liberty following advice from her accountants, she has since repaid the sheltered taxes.

Although the HMRC doesn’t “comment on individual cases”, it is also also investigating the workings of another scheme called Ingenious Media – a film investment firm, which will go to tribunal in November. Investors include David Beckham, Steve Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.

Beckham’s publicist, Simon Oliviera, denied that the retired footballer had ever avoided tax.

"We don’t discuss the private financial matters of our clients, however as we have said on many occasions the Beckhams have always paid their taxes in full and have never been involved in aggressive tax avoidance schemes," he told The Independent. "They have also been long-time supporters of the creative industries and made a number of successful investments over the years."

Spokespeople for Gerrard and Rooney could not be reached.

READ MORE: DAVID CAMERON CRITICISES GARY BARLOW TAX AVOIDANCE
CELEBRITIES HID £340MILLION IN TAX AVOIDANCE SCHEME
GABY LOGAN ADMITS TO TAX AVOIDANCE
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week