HM Revenue Customs has admitted to letting “powerful” members of society – including celebrities – escape prosecution for financial crimes.
The disclosure, reported on by The Times, came at a conference in Cambridge last week when Richard Las, a deputy director for HMRC, said criminal proceedings are not the “default option” for cases including tax evasion, fraud or money laundering.
Explaining that criminal justice is only used “where it is necessary and it will have the greatest effect”, he said: “When deciding whether to deploy our resources, we try to understand what motivates different types of offenders.”
“For example some tax offenders are very wealthy, prominent members of the community.
“We know that these types of people do not want the reputational damage of custodial sentences, and we can use that to our advantage.”