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Scam bosses could trouser PS7.7MILLION; CHARITY TAX AVOIDERS: Daily Mirror INVESTIGATES Gift Aid cash may be creamed off Good causes received just PS135k.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY NICK SOMMERLAD investigate@mirror.co.uk

THE masterminds behind a PS100million charity tax scam could be in line for a PS7.7million payout.

Despite giving just 8p to unnamed good causes out of every PS100 raised, we revealed yesterday that the Cup Trust has asked HM Revenue and Customs for PS46million i?Gift Aid.

And now accounts show that PS7.7million of the Gift Aid is due to be spent on "contingency" fees.

It is not known who will get the fees, but experts believe the scheme may be set up so bosses ANTHONY MEHIGAN and MATTHEW JENNER benefit".

Mr Mehigan and Mr Jenner were behind the avoidance scheme Romangate, used by comedian Jimmy Carr and hundreds of other wealthy individuals.

They then set up the secretive Cup Trust, with mystery donors pouring millions into it. It was registered in 2009 and within months became one of the nation's RICHESt charities.

The Cup Trust, which was registered through offshore firm Mountstar (PTC) Ltd in the Caribbean, banked PS177million from donors in a year, but gave just PS135,000 to ?Good causes.

Its donors could also have avoided paying up to PS55million in income tax thanks to allowances designed to encourage the rich to give to CHARITY.

The Trust has no staff and uses a free Google email address. A single page site, thecuptrust.com, states the charity gives grants to "benefit children and young adults" but was registered anonymously and doesn't ask for donation's.

The charity has been run from the plush Mayfair office of Mr Mehigan and Mr Jenner 's firm NT Advisors.

BENEFIT We quizzed MEHIGAN, who lives in the exclusive Jersey resort of St Brelade, about the charity spending so little on good causes. He said: "I can't comment on a private client matter."

He also would not say which charities received PS135,000 in grants and last night neither of the men responded to our question on whether they stood to benefit from the Gift Aid claim.

It is not known whether the Trust got the PS46million it has claimed in Gift Aid - income tax already paid by donors and claimed back as a rebate by the charity - but, in its accounts, it predicted this was "more than likely to succeed."

Labour MP MARGARET HODGE, who has probed a series of tax dodges as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, called it the "worst" case she had ever seen.

" he said. yesterday: "We will be calling the Charity Commission to answer questions about The Cup Trust. It is an appalling case and I want to know whether theCup Trust has received the PS46million it applied for.

"I also want to know who has benefited from the PS7.7million set aside in fees."

The charity raised PS177million from January to November 2010 but spent virtually the same amount buying "gilts" - a secure type of investment bond issued by the Government.

Expert Richard Murphy said: "It looks at least possible those donors got their money straight back in the form of gilts.

"It is a set of accounts for a charity which looks like its main focus is tax planning and almost nothing to do with charity. No-one can believe that this is set up for charitable purposes."

The Trust's money was held by Romangate Ltd, a tax avoidance vehicle set up by Mr Mehigan and Mr Jenner which was Ji aRh" SHUT DOWN. Jimmy Carr was a director of Romangate but his agent said: "He 's not sJ involved invested or ever involved, invested or ever heard of this."

Another Romangate director, Tory donor George Robinson said: "I don't know anything about The Cup Trust.

"It looks pretty curious to me. I definitely didn't claim a rebate on a charitable donation to the Cup Trust."

Watchdog the Charity Commission started investigating the Trust in 2010 "following concerns raised about its governance, its activities and how funds were raised and applied". Charity Commission investigators have already warned Mr Mehigan and Mr Jenner against profiting from the charity.

In March, it advised Mountstar to "take measures to safeguard against potential issues such as related party transactions and potential trustee benefit". Last year, Chancellor George Osborne abandoned a pledge to stop the rich "exploiting" the system through charities that "don't do a great deal of charitable work".

In April he announced plans to limit how much the wealthy could donate without paying income tax. But in a major U-turn, the move was scrapped in May. hy could donate tax. But in a ove was And, while the top rate of income tax for those on more than PS150,000 is currently 50%, the Government is also cutting that to 45% next year. rate of n more tly 50%, o cutting This is despite one in 10 of Britain's super-rich paying the same income tax rate as a nurse or teacher.

Labour's Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Ministers should be finding ways to make the wealthy pay their fair share, not cutting the tax of millionaires."

HMRC revealed that PS35billion in taxes goes missing a year, costing us PS100million a day.

g HMRC reve taxes goes us PS100m But ind carried o the true missing t which is fund the e the same a deficit for But independent calculations carried out by Tax Research say the true figure for Britain's missing tax is PS123billion a year, which is more than enough to fund the entire NHS and almost the same as the entire UK budget deficit for last year.

3 TH THE nation's big four accountancy 3 THE nation's big four accountancy firms were accused yesterday of colluding in "aggressive" tax avoidance by multinational companies.

In a probe sparked by the Starbucks tax row, MPs claimed KPMG, PWC, Ernst & Young and Deloitte, advised big business how to use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share in Britain.

Margaret Hodge, of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said any company th hat tely company that deliberately ealthy firms on how x bills should not advised wealthy firms on how to cut tax bills should not receive public contracts.

She told the firms' executives: "You are a bunch of really clever people. You could contribute so much to society and you all choose to focus on working in an area which reduces the available resources for us to build schools and hospitals."

I want to know whether they received the Gift Aid and who benefited MP MARGARET HODGE tely

CAPTION(S):

SHOCKING Our revelation yesterday

SHUT DOWN Carr's tax dodge

PLUSH J Boss Mehigan's home

FILTHY RICH Mehigan and family on boat
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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