Taxman tells of tickets to hear Rolling Stones

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The Independent Online
The Rolling Stones and another "major band" were investigated by top tax inspectors, who accepted perks from them during their inquiries, a senior Inland Revenue official claimed at the Old Bailey yesterday

The boss of Michael Allcock, 47, confirmed that a taskforce dubbed the "Ghostbusters" inquired into the financial dealings of some of the biggest names in pop. Mr Allcock is charged with corruption.

Roland Price, group leader of the Inland Revenue's special office, said his team of inspectors sometimes accepted hospitality from the people they were investigating.

He told the court: "I was given two tickets for the Rolling Stones' concert at Wembley in 1982.

"It was at the beginning of the investigation and I would have gone to the concert anyway in the course of my work. The tickets came into our office in the normal way. I only used one of them."

Mr Price, a senior inspector in the Revenue office which targeted rich foreigners who had not paid tax in Britain, said he always got permission from management to accept hospitality. In another example, Anthony Arlidge QC, defending Allcock, asked Mr Price about a visit to Dublin in 1985 to investigate the tax affairs of a "major band". The band was not named in court.

Mr Price said the Revenue paid for the air fares, but he agreed that he and a colleague were entertained to lunch by lawyers for the group at a stud farm.

"We were taken out for a meal. We certainly had a working lunch," said Mr Price.

The defence revealed other working trips, including one to Houston in Texas, which included a free visit to a country club and the NASA space launch centre with Allcock.

Allcock, a senior tax inspector, from Colchester, Essex, has denied 13 charges of corruption from 1987 to 1992. The trial continues.