Five charged with £125m fraud over films tax relief

 

Five people are to be charged in connection with a film industry tax relief fraud which cost the public purse around £125 million, the Crown Prosecution Service said today.

The group allegedly abused a tax relief that allows investors in the British film industry to offset losses against other tax liabilities in order to cheat the public revenue.

Keith Hayley, Robert Bevan, Charles Savill, Cyril Megret and Norman Leighton will each face three charges - conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to falsify documents, the CPS said.

Andrew Penhale, deputy head of fraud at the CPS, said: "Following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs, we have authorised charges against five individuals in connection with a tax relief fraud that allegedly cost the public revenue in the region of £125 million.

"It is alleged that, between January 1, 2002 and July 1, 2011, a tax relief that allows investors in the British film industry to offset losses against other tax liabilities was abused and dishonestly marketed in order to cheat the public revenue.

"The evidence suggests that the value of allowable losses was falsified, that there was a conspiracy to defraud investors and that documents were falsified for accounting purposes."

All five defendants are due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on June 18.

It comes just a month after jail terms were handed to a gang who pretended to be making a £19.6 million Hollywood blockbuster as part of a complex scam aimed at falsely claiming VAT repayments and film tax credits.

In that case, the fraudsters created a chain of companies to make false applications for VAT repayments and claim film tax credits used to encourage the British film industry. Bashar Al-Issa, 34, of Rodney Court, Maida Vale, London; Aoife Madden, 31, of Maclise Road, west London; Tariq Hassan, 52, of Willingale Road, Loughton, Essex; Osama Al Baghdady, 51, of Lowther Road, Crumpsall, Manchester; and Ian Sherwood, 53, of Esher Drive, Sale, Manchester, all received prison sentences at Southwark Crown Court.

PA

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