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Advisers found guilty in £100m film tax scam

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Two advisers have been found guilty of tax fraud in a £100m film industry scam that attracted investors including footballers, investment bankers and a pop star.

London-based advisers Robert Bevan and Anthony Charles Savill, and accountant Keith Hayley set up a company called Little Wing Films to develop film projects.

Little Wing said that for every £100,000 invested higher rate taxpayers would get £130,000 in tax repayments from HMRC.

More than 275 investors put more than £76m into the scheme.

Hayley, Bevan and Savill claimed to have spent more than £250m on pre-production and development packages for films made in Monaco. However, an HMRC investigation found these packages cost £4m and were created in Little Wing’s offices in London.

The group falsely inflated expenses to more than £275m adding to the scheme’s financial losses, which enabled investors to collectively claim around £100m in tax repayments. HMRC is seeking to recover these repayments from the investors.

Little Wing also set up offshore companies to hide the fraud arranging for companies to be registered in the British Virgin Islands that supposedly operated in Monaco, Geneva and the Channel Islands and were fronted by friends in the Philippines and Kolkata.

However, the investigation found that those companies did little more than pass investor funds through their bank accounts, from one to another numerous times, to inflate the amount invested and therefore the scheme’s losses.

Norman Leighton, an accountant and corporate services provider based in Monaco, helped create the pretence that more than £250m was being spent on genuine activity in Monaco.

Hayley, Savill, Bevan and Leighton were found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court and are due to be sentenced at the same court on 24 June 2016.

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Is it safe to assume that they are not FCA Regulated advisers (Please God I hope not!)?

    • Looks like they only held CF’s until 2003 so hopefully this won’t land on the doorstep of the FSCS! Can we perhaps therefore refer to such people as UNREGULATED Financial Advisors when giving them any headlines in the future?

  2. So not really financial advisers after all. How they thought they would get away with creating something for 4mil but then to try and pass it off as costing £250mil is anybody’s guess but their stupidity knows no bounds. They’ve been watching too many episodes of the hustle I suspect.

  3. Rather proves yet again what mugs people are.

    I’ll bet the blurb (apart from mentioning the tax breaks) also made reference to all the film stars you could meet as a result of your investment. That people are mesmerised by this nonsense is breathtaking. For those who purport to have some intelligence, have they never heard of due diligence?

  4. Julian Stevens 6th June 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Clearly these people weren’t “advisers” in any sense that the term is understood by readers of a magazine such as Money Marketing. They were just a bunch of crooked cowboys and nothing to do with the regulated adviser community. MM ought to make this abundantly clear.

  5. Why does the heading of this article include the word ‘advisers’??? Any member of the public will immediately think they are IFAs.

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