The High Court has heard that an investigation by HMRC into the alleged tax evasion of four former senior KMPG partners, was a ‘publicity stunt’.

It is alleged that HMRC obtained warrants in order to search the partners homes and offices, but was done so unlawfully.

The four partners Eamonn Donaghy, Jon D’Arcy, Paul Hollway and Arthur O’Brien were arrested last year on suspicion of evading taxes however, they have never been charged with an offence.

The partners subsequently applied to the High Court for a judicial review into how HMRC obtained the warrants.

One of the representing barristers said:

“HMRC obtained these warrants in circumstances where they misrepresented the relevant facts.”

“They effectively concealed the existence of relevant correspondence and misled the judges into believing that (the four men) had failed to provide all the relevant information.”

The lawyers argued that the judges who issued the warrants were not given all the relevant information by HMRC, who had previously written to the partners thanking them for their co-operation.

The barrister added: “These applications for search warrants, both of the houses and of the office, was actuated by an improper, collateral purpose.

“This was essentially a publicity stunt rather than a valid, genuine application for warrants to obtain documentation.”

KMPG announced that the four partners had retired from the company in February of this year.

A full hearing will take place in October.

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