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30 Nov 2016 11:57am

HMRC "gleeful" ahead of KPMG raid

Bosses at HMRC were “gleeful" before they raided the homes of four high-profile KPMG partners in Northern Ireland last year, the High Court has heard

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Caption: High-profile partners arrested in Belfast last year over suspected tax evasion

Lawyers for the Big Four firm's partners Eamonn Donaghy, Jon D’Arcy, Paul Hollway and Arthur O’Brien told the court in Belfast that there was no justification for taking the "nuclear option" of an intrusive operation that also involved trawling through children's school bags, according to a report from the Belfast Telegraph.

The four men, the firm’s most senior partners in Ireland, are challenging the legality of the permits gained to search their homes and business premises.

They were arrested last November in connection with suspected tax evasion. None have been charged. Their counsel has previously argued that important information, including about their cooperation with the investigation, was omitted in HMRC’s applications for the warrant.

D'Arcy was chairman of KPMG's Belfast office, Donaghy was head of its tax practice, O'Brien was an audit and advisory partner and Hollway was the firm's head of corporate finance in Ireland.

It is believed the case centres on the four men being directors of a property investment company called JEAP Ltd, which made heavy losses following the property market crash in 2008.

A KPMG spokesman at the time of the arrests said the company was co-operating with the HMRC investigation.

"It is important to emphasise that we do not have any indication that this investigation relates to the business of KPMG or the business of our clients", the spokesperson said.

Raymond Doherty

 

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