Birmingham Crown Court have found four men guilty of a tax avoidance scheme which mislead HMRC out of £100m.
A tax investigation launched by HMRC discovered that the men had purposely inflated the expenses of their film productions in order that investors into the scheme could claim tax repayments. In an attempt to hide the fraud the men falsified paperwork and also set up offshore companies, one of which being Fat Cat Films Ltd
275 investors, who between them invested more than £76m into the scheme believed they were legitimately reducing their tax bill and in the process helping the British film industry.
Investors which included football players, investment bankers and a pop star, were able to collect around £100m in tax repayments after the men increased the expenses to over £275m in an attempt to increase the schemes financial losses. HMRC have begun to recover these repayments from the investors.
Accountant Keith Hayley, financial advisors Robert Bevan and Charles Anthony Savill created Little Wing Films in order to develop film projects. Account Norman Leighton who was based in Monaco, helped to create the pretence that £250m was being spent on genuine projects in Monaco.
The men are due to be sentenced on 24th June.