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Celebrities' advisor from Pinner jailed for offshore charity tax scam
A celebrity tax advisor who scammed nearly £5million in a fraudulent tax avoidance scheme leaving charities out of pocket has been jailed for four years.
Roy Faichney, 53, of Barnhill, Pinner, worked with his deputy David Perrin at Vantis Tax Ltd to share the £4.5m profit from the plot and spent his half on luxury properties and paintings, while also using the scheme to evade tax on his £200,000-plus company salary.
Faichney and Perrin’s scheme made headlines in January when it emerged in court that the scheme proved so popular that Vantis employees performed a smug celebratory song at their annual conference, to the tune of the 1970s hit I Will Survive.
It included the verse: “They should have changed that stupid law, they should have buggered charity, but they have left that lovely tax relief, for folks to pay to me.”
The pair advised more than 600 wealthy clients – including director Guy Ritchie, journalist Jeremy Paxman and singer Yusuf Islam – to buy shares worth just a few pence in four new companies they set up, before listing them in the Channel Islands and paying people from an offshore account to buy and sell the shares to inflate their price.
The 329,000,000 shares were then donated to various unsuspecting registered charities and the owners tried to claim £70m ‘gift aid’ tax relief on a total of £213 million of income and company profits.
This was based on the shares being worth up to £1 each, when in fact they were still worth the pennies they were originally bought for. There is no suggestion clients knew of the fraud.
Sentencing Faichney to four years in prison this morning at Blackfriars Crown Court for cheating the public revenue, Judge Henry Blacksell told him “the general public are sick and tired of men such as you and schemes such as this”.
He added: “If you ever had a moral compass you lost it or buried it under the property purchases, furnishings, holidays and cruises.”
Suspicions were raised in 2005 when Perrin and Faichney offered a contact participation in a tax avoidance scheme. The contact's wife was an ex-tax inspector and she told fraud investigators.
Faichney was also disqualified from being a director for ten years and confiscation proceedings were started to try and reclaim the money. In January, Perrin was jailed for 18 months for his part in the fraud.
The company the duo worked for, Vantis, went out of business two years ago.