Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Goldman Sachs 'escapes paying £10million bill in sweetheart deal with the taxman' - 8th Nov 2011

The country's top tax official signed off a deal which let banking giant Goldman Sachs off a £10million tax bill without consulting a single lawyer, it emerged yesterday.

Dave Hartnett was accused of being 'cavalier' with taxpayers money after he admitted to MPs that he had not sought legal advice before agreeing to the controversial 'sweetheart' deal.

Mr Hartnett has faced calls to resign after it leaked documents showed that that he had personally agreed to waive up to £10million of interest on a £30million bill from a failed tax avoidance scheme on bankers' bonuses.

Mr Hartnett – previously described as Britain's most 'wined and dined' civil servant was also grilled by MPs over his 107 breakfasts, lunches and dinners that he attended over three years with big companies and accountancy firms.

MPs on the powerful Public Administration Committee expressed fury over the 'evasion' of senior tax officials during a tense and bad-tempered hearing in Parliament yesterday.

The committee's chairman Margaret Hodge said: 'The whole saga it seems to me this is the biggest ad for Goldman Sachs because they toughed it out and got off interest. That's what it feels like to me.

'The perception is such there has been huge reputational damage to HMRC. If I was sitting at Goldman Sachs, I would be rubbing my hands because they'd think we beat 'em to it and got off the tax bill.' Read More