Millennium Post

PIO trade adviser on India in tax haven list of Britons

An Indian-origin trade adviser is among nearly 1,000 high-profile Britons named on a vast database of offshore tax havens. According to a 'Sunday Times' report, Alpesh Patel who advises UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) on trade with India has been named alongside footballer John Fashanu. Both men have denied receiving any tax advantage from offshore arrangements.

The set of 2.5 million leaked documents being  looked into by the UK's HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) relate to the activities of individuals and companies in low tax jurisdictions such as Singapore, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Cook Islands and comes in the wake of the department's increasingly toughening stance on wealth sheltered in tax havens. Documents from the BVI show that Patel, 41, set up a firm called AHM Investors in 2005, which was listed as dormant the following year.

‘It never got off the ground; it never traded,’Patel told the newspaper, adding that the mindset of many financial firms had changed since the 2008 financial crisis regarding ‘tax efficient’ offshoots in places like the BVI. ‘They didnt put a moral layer on it then,’ he said.

Leading banks and financial institutions, including Coutts and Goldman Sachs, also appear on the leaked list, which the Sunday Times claims to have seen but stresses that there is no suggestion that any of the individuals or companies have broken the law.

Footballer-turned-television-presenter Fashanus name appears as a director of a telecommunications company set up in the BVI in 2003 by a Nigerian tycoon. ‘He neither put any money in, nor did he take any money out,’ his manager Ian Wilson said.

The leaked documents are believed to have been passed in tranches to the HMRC and authorities in America and Australia by a whistleblower since 2009. The offshore data has led to a global investigation into alleged tax evasion.
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