The government and HMRC have been pledging to clamp down on enablers and promoters of aggressive tax avoidance strategies for years. In recent times it has been hard to keep up with the plethora of measures and legislation brought in to stop these “unscrupulous advisers”.
The Government announced its intention to introduce an Economic Crime Levy in the Budget 2020. This is designed to fund government action to tackle money laundering and help deliver the reforms committed to in the Economic Crime plan 2019-2020. It has since followed up on this - on 21 July - with the launch of a consultation as to how such a levy would operate.
The recent case of The Official Receiver v Andrew Nathaniel Skeene and Junie Conrad Omari Bowers  EWHC 1252 (Ch) (“Skeene”) is a good example of the crossover between insolvency related proceedings and criminal proceedings. In this case, the High Court considered the Official Receiver’s (“OR”) ability to disclose to the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) documents which had been obtained by the OR during the course of disqualification proceedings.
Interviews are frequently conducted by office-holders with individuals previously involved with an insolvent company, such as directors and officers, employees, accountants, lawyers and other third parties. Such interviews will often provide key information regarding the company’s trading and dealings and the actions of its directors and employees, thereby assisting office-holders seeking to investigate potential fraud, misfeasance and other forms of misconduct.
In the Home Secretary’s foreword to the National Crime Agency’s Annual Report 2019-20, she details the “NCA’s relentless mission to end the very worst criminality” and the report cites the categories of Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) that “destroy lives” including: child sexual abuse; modern slavery and human trafficking; organised immigration crime; cybercrime; fraud; money laundering; bribery and corruption; and, sanctions evasion.