Piggott pays back another pounds 4.5m tax

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The Independent Online
LESTER PIGGOTT, the former champion jockey stripped of his OBE while serving a prison sentence in the late Eighties on pounds 2.8m tax fraud charges, has made a further pounds 4.5m settlement with the Inland Revenue.

Documents that have only recently come to light show that, after he had left prison in 1988, Mr Piggott's dispute with the Revenue continued. It was only in 1989 that he reached a final settlement.

Mr Piggott's present accountant, Peter Gregory, said yesterday: 'I wasn't party to that settlement. There have been no problems since I took over Lester's affairs.' The Revenue had not, as far as he knew, considered a further prosecution. Both Mr Piggott and his wife, Susan, refused to comment.

Mr Piggott paid pounds 2.8m to discharge the corporation tax owed by his company L K Piggott Limited in 1987.

But after release from prison in 1988 Mr Piggott continued negotiations with the Revenue over further amounts of unpaid tax. That dispute was settled a year later when he paid a further pounds 4,432,364.

This is revealed in accounts filed at Companies House and prepared by Stoy Hayward, a London-based firm of accountants. Signed by Lester and Susan Piggott, they are in breach of the Companies Act because, though they are for years ending April 1987 and April 1988, they were not filed until October 1992. A limited company has to file accounts within a 10-month deadline.

The accounts have been heavily qualified by Stoy Hayward. In the accounts for 1987, the firm states: 'Adjustments have been made to the financial statements to include income receivable by the company (L K Piggott) which was omitted from its accounting records. These adjustments and their completeness have been made on the basis of representations from management. Under these circumstances we do not consider that proper books and records have been maintained by the company.'

Stoy Hayward no longer acts for the jockey. The accounts filed by Mr Gregory, who has since taken over Mr Piggott's affairs, are up to date.

Last year in a newspaper interview Mr Piggott said of his prison sentence: 'I just wonder if it did anyone any good. I wouldn't have thought so.'

Mr Piggott, who is 59, has won the Derby on nine occasions and has been champion jockey 11 times. But yesterday he was not on top form: in four races at Newbury, his best position was fifth.

(Photograph omitted)

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