Sunday 15 February 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, February 15, 2015 with No comments | Labels: , , , , , , ,

Just as you can judge a person by the company he keeps, you can judge an enforcement agency by the villains it confronts.

America's FBI chases the most murderous crooks of their times: Al Capone; Bonnie & Clyde; John Dilinger; the Unabomber.

Comic book heroes pursue the vilest vicious verminous villains violently.

[Image: The Multi Powers]
HMRC, on the other hand, included in its top 8 "Most Wanted" miscreants in February 2015:

  • three VAT fraudsters; 
  • two cigarette smugglers;
  • one individual pocketing stamp duties; 
  • one individual running a tax-credit racket; 
  • and an individual who was smuggling non-EU garlic disguised as ginger!

These were, incredibly, HMRC's eight "Most Wanted"! They were more wanted than anybody else HMRC could think of. The garlic smuggler was "More Wanted" than the HSBC and the Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) executives who were accused by MPs of running tax dodging scams on an "industrial scale". 

Perhaps HMRC doesn't include the pin-stripe villains in their "Most Wanted" because they know where they are, i.e. they are not 'on the run'. Though perhaps the suits aren't 'on the run' because they know there isn't anybody chasing them?

If it is true that the 'most wanted' only include 'on the runs', then take a look at
HMRC's "Crime Map". This shows geographically where HMRC is getting its convictions, and what jail time is being inflicted. The map should show the captured pin-stripe crooks who are not 'on the run'. 

Lots of blue balloons on the map suggest HMRC has been busy. Zoom in and you will find clusters of convictions around Manchester, Birmingham and London. Click on the balloons (not our image, but the real thing) and you find examples of crimes and prison sentences:
  • £13k duty evasion: 56 days prison
  • £16k duty evasion: 5 months prison
  • £30k duty evasion: 10 months prison
  • £98k VAT fraud: 2 years prison
  • £3.2million duty evasion: 7 years and 1 month prison

According to the BBC Panorama programme, HSBC's Swiss arm took care of US$21.7 billion of assets for clients from the UK, representing hundreds of millions in dodged taxes. I will leave the mathematicians among you to do the extrapolations to determine jail terms proportionate to the sentences given to the VAT and duty dodgers' listed above.

Search for convictions in Britain's "industrial scale" centres of tax dodging services: zoom in on the Crime Map to the two key financial industry hubs in London:

1) The City: there were no blue balloons at all.

2) Canary Wharf: Also a blue-balloon-free-zone.

In Parliament's Public Accounts Committee meeting on 31st January 2013 tax chiefs of the Big Four (the world's four largest accountancy firms Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG and PwC accused of running 'industrial scale' tax dodging services) were asked what they were paid:

Q146 Chair: Are you all on seven-figure sums? Taking salary and bonuses-are they seven-figure sums? Yes.

Bill Dodwell [Head of Tax Policy, Deloitte LLP] : I’m not, no.

Kevin Nicholson [Head of Tax, PwC]: Yes.
Chair: Jane?

Jane McCormick [UK Head of Tax, KPMG]: Six.
Chair: Are you seven or six?

John Dixon [Head of Tax Policy, Ernst and Young]: Seven.

Bill Dodwell: Six.

Bragging rights went to Kevin Nicholson of PwC and John Dixon of Ernst&Young. Mr.Dodwell and Miss McCormick took as consolation prize the ammunition to get a pay-rise at their next appraisals. All for helping people dodge tax. Doubtless the bosses in charge of HSBC Suisse were no less remunerated.

History has showed for millenia that if you offer enough, people are prepared to do anything. Napolean did it with ribbons and medals. Our financiers prefer hard cash. 

Is that the reason certain salaries in the City are so high? They are not paid for their talent, but for their consciences? Top bankers and accountants aren't prepared to sell their souls at any price: only for a high price.


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