Regulation  

FCA bans jailed accountant over tax scheme

FCA bans jailed accountant over tax scheme

An accountant who was jailed for his role in a film tax scheme has been banned by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Terence Potter, who is currently serving an eight year sentence at HMP Highpoint in Suffolk, was deemed to no longer be a fit and proper person.

A former tax partner at EY, Potter previously held a number of authorisations, including that of investment adviser between December 2001 and April 2004.

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But despite not having been authorised for more than 14 years the FCA ruled his conduct demonstrated a serious lack of honesty and integrity and banned him from ever becoming authorised again.

In 2015 Potter was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of four counts of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and was sentenced to serve 96 months in jail.

Last year a confiscation order was made against him in the sum of £1.8m.

In the final notice the FCA cited the judge's sentencing comments, which highlighted the fact Potter played on his qualification as a chartered accountant and past employment to bolster his credibility and plausibility.

The FCA added: "The schemes involved conspiring with others in the creation of annual accounts that were required for those schemes and in the underlying support for figures within accounts that were 'a carefully orchestrated, contrived and fictitious merry-go-round of money and false accounting'."

Southwark Crown Court heard Potter, who previously lived in Monaco, set up two film companies and recruited wealthy investors by promising they could secure tax relief against any losses the companies made.

He was the brains behind Cardiff’s Aquarius Films – which held distribution rights to George Clooney’s 1999 blockbuster Three Kings - and was responsible for a series of movies.

Potter was part of a group which claimed to have spent £5.7m and made significant losses on two UK film projects but HMRC investigators discovered a series of suspicious tax rebate claims, supported by faked invoices, account records and bogus diary entries.

damian.fantato@ft.com