Co­me­di­ans and sports stars conned in tax fraud

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Ni­cola Har­ley

AN ETON and Ox­ford ed­u­cated man helped con celebri­ties into be­liev­ing they were in­vest­ing in a tax-ef­fi­cient eco-scheme, a court has heard. In fact, it was one of Bri­tain’s big­gest tax frauds.

Jonathan An­wyl, 44, helped con­vince the rich and fa­mous they could cut their tax bills by in­vest­ing in eth­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal projects. Led by Michael Richards, 55, an en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist and Cam­bridge grad­u­ate, the scam per­suaded 730 celebri­ties, in­clud­ing co­me­di­ans and sports stars, to in­vest in re­search and de­vel­op­ment re­for­esta­tion projects in Brazil and China.

In re­al­ity the or­gan­is­ers were si­phon­ing off huge sums into se­cret ac­counts in Hol­land and Switzer­land, South­wark Crown Court was told.

In­vestors told they would be el­i­gi­ble for tax re­lief were en­cour­aged to claim back £107.92 mil­lion. HMRC is now re­coup­ing the tax.

Richards made £7.4 mil­lion from the scam, buying a £1.7m prop­erty, a £32,000 en­gage­ment ring and a £20,000 plaque in mem­ory of his fa­ther to be erected at Gonville & Caius Col­lege.

Other de­fen­dants bought a £2.4mil­lion villa in Dubai and a £2mil­lion Sus­sex barn con­ver­sion.

An­wyl and Richards ran the fraud us­ing a com­pany called Car­bon Pos­i­tive Trad­ing. Pana­ma­nian law firm Mos­sack Fon­seca was paid to set up the two firms, which were reg­is­tered in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Isles.

An­wyl, from Ring­mer, East Sus­sex, the son of a re­tired Crown Court judge, used his £1.6mil­lion prof­its to pay off a prop­erty in Aus­tralia, which he owned with his French wife, Anne.

Of the £65 mil­lion from in­vestors, only a quar­ter was ac­tu­ally spent by CPT. The rest was si­phoned into a se­cret Swiss ac­count and from there it was dis­persed by the de­fen­dants. In­vestors mean­while, were en­cour­aged to claim tax re­lief.

It took 10 years to bring the case through the courts, in­clud­ing a 10-month trial that cost the tax­payer mil­lions of pounds.

Richards was sent to jail for 11 years and An­wyl was given five years.

Oth­ers in­volved in the scam and jailed were Rod­ney Whis­ton-dew, 67, a so­lic­i­tor; busi­ness con­sul­tant Eu­doros Demetriou, 77; busi­ness­man Robert Gold, 49; and his fa­ther Mal­com, 73.

Jonathan An­wyl, 44, told in­vestors their money was sup­port­ing eth­i­cal projects

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.