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20 Jun 2014 03:22pm

Icebreaker MD cuts off investors

Caroline Hamilton, managing director of Icebreaker Management Services Ltd, has ended communication with investors regarding its case against HMRC

On Wednesday the Icebreaker tax fund threatened Deloitte with legal action after sacking the Big Four firm as legal advisor because Bill Dodwell, Deloitte head of tax policy, wrote an article urging readers to “congratulate” a tribunal after it ruled that investors had used the scheme to shelter over £300m.

In a letter to investors written on Wednesday, seen by The Times, Hamilton said that the fund had instructed solicitors to “take action” against the firm if necessary. She described the comments made by Dodwell, who has no involvement in the case, as “extraordinary”.

“This appears to be in clear breach of Deloitte’s duties as Icebreaker’s instructing solicitors,” she said.

However, she has now called off all communications in order to maintain confidentiality.

In a letter seen by economia, dated today, Hamilton tells investors that, “Following an article in The Times on Wednesday (which was clearly based on the update I sent you on Monday), it is with regret that we will have to suspend further updates for the time being in order to maintain confidentiality. I know this is hardly ideal but ultimately we feel this is in our best interests.

“I can assure you we will continue to work vigorously towards obtaining the best possible outcome for LLP members with HMRC. However, we are not prepared to risk prejudicing anyone’s interests any further. Therefore until further notice, we will not communicate by email with any LLP member about HMRC, the tribunal or any other contentious matter.”

A source close to the situation said the communication had been “terminated with prejudice”.

Icebreaker hit headlines last month after the tax tribunal ruled that the fund, used by over 1,000 members, including high profile participants such as Take That’s Gary Barlow, was a conscious attempt to avoid tax.

The tribunal ruled the scheme was “known and understood by all concerned to be a tax avoidance scheme”.

Raymond Doherty

 

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