The Prime Minister was forced to condemn the actions of Take That band member Gary Barlow, after the signer and composer was found guilty of tax avoidance, alongside fellow band members and others, reports Reuters.
Mr Barlow, a holder of an Order of the British Empire (OBE), was found alongside band mates Howard Donald and Mark Owen, and their manager Jonathan Wild, to have invested millions of pounds in a partnership called Larkdale LLP in 2010.
The band added £20.8m in money borrowed from various sources including Barclays Bank, and claimed in court that the venture was created to fund small-scale investments in the music industry through a scheme run by Icebreaker Management.
The partnership lost around £25m in the first year of trading, an amount that could be used by those invested in it to offset against tax owed personally.
The judge found that far from being a legitimate investment, Icebreaker Management was in fact a scheme devised entirely for the purpose of avoiding tax.
Although tax avoidance is in essence legal, new government rules mean that ventures cannot be designed purely for the purpose of offsetting tax, and must have at their heart the aim of generating profit.
“The underlying, and fundamental, conclusion we have reached is that the Icebreaker scheme is, and was known and understood by all concerned to be, a tax avoidance scheme,” said judge Colin Bishop.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs believe that the Icebreaker Management scheme was used to avoid the total payment of around £120m, of which around £8m could be attributed to Larkdale LLP.
Mr Barlow’s involvement in the scheme has drawn particular attention as he is a holder of the OBE, and was responsible for among other things the organisation for the celebration of the Queen’s jubilee.
The Prime Minister was forced to condemn Mr Barlow’s tax affairs, after criticising celebrity Jimmy Carr’s involvement in a similar scheme in 2012.
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