Taxman lets celebrities avoid court shaming

The most powerful members of society are able to avoid the embarrassment of being prosecuted for financial crimes, HM Revenue and Customs has admitted.

A senior official told a conference that the tax authorities met the concerns of celebrities and the famous and settled debts privately so that they avoided a public trial.

The official from HMRC, which is responsible for collecting taxes and customs duties, disclosed the information at a conference on economic crime in Cambridge last week. It prompted a warning from Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, about equality under the law. She said that just because people had highly paid tax advisers they should not be seen to be getting away with it.

Richard Las, the deputy director…

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