Former adviser guilty of film scheme tax fraud

Former adviser guilty of film scheme tax fraud

A former financial adviser has been found guilty of conspiracy to cheat HM Revenue & Customs for his part in a film finance scheme.

According to FTAdviser’s parent paper the Financial Times, Neil Williams-Denton, who previously worked as a director at Greystone Financial Services, was one of several trials relating to a film finance scheme heard in Southwark Crown Court yesterday (10 December).

In September he was convicted on another count of conspiracy to cheat HMRC, but that verdict was subject to reporting restrictions so as not to prejudice the jury’s verdict in this week’s trial.

The earlier trial saw Mr Williams-Denton’s fellow defendant Terence Potter, a film producer and former accountant at Ernst & Young, plead guilty to the charge of conspiring to cheat HMRC.

Along with him, three brokers from Jefferies - James Hyde, Hamish Maclellan and Phillip Jenkins - were convicted on charges of conspiracy to cheat HMRC at the September trial.

Meanwhile, another three defendants - former Royal Bank of Scotland bankers Vincent Walsh, Jason Edinburgh and Assad Amin - were acquitted yesterday.

Mr Williams-Denton had recommended the film schemes - run by Mr Potter’s company Aquarius Films - to the RBS and Jefferies traders as an opportunity to get tax rebates.

To actually earn the rebates, those who took part in the scheme had to prove they were actively involved by working at least 10 hours a week in the production of the films.

HMRC alleged the men conspired to present false documents showing they had met this time target.

Prosecutor Shane Collery alleged that the bankers submitted “hundreds of pages” of false diaries, detailing the hours they supposedly worked on a film, in order to claim thousands of pounds of tax relief.

Mr Williams-Denton and Mr Potter are due to be sentenced next week.

At the end of January 2014, FTAdviser reported that the Crown Prosecution Service had charged 13 individuals over a £2.5m tax fraud involving partnerships set up to deal in film development.

The charges related to two partnerships - Edinburgh & Walsh LLP and Jenkins & Hyde & Maclellan LLP - with Mr Williams-Denton to be charged with two counts of conspiracy to cheat the HMRC relating to both partnerships.