The law catches up with gambling barrister

A barrister who charged his clients VAT, but kept the money instead of passing it to the taxman, has been imprisoned for tax fraud.

Edward Paul Agbaje, aged 60 of London, practised as a self-employed barrister, working out of 1 Gray’s Inn Chambers.  Agbaje had been made bankrupt twice previously , in 1999 and 2008, relating to non-payment of income tax to HMRC.  He had also been deregistered for VAT by HMRC in February 2005, after failing to submit complete VAT returns dating back to 1994; meaning he was barred from trading above the VAT threshold (e.g. £58,000 in 2005). However, he continued to trade using his invalid VAT number on invoices: collecting VAT on fees from clients, and then pocketing the money rather than passing it on to HMRC.

HMRC tax inspectors discovered that Agbaje was continuing to trade during a routine VAT visit to his chambers.

He has now been jailed for 18 months after failing to pay more than £80,000 in tax to HM Revenue and Customs over a 7 year period.  Agbaje, who ironically, specialised in criminal law claimed in court to have gambled away the proceeds. He was convicted on 2 counts of Cheating the Public Revenue, at the Old Bailey.

Lynam Tax Investigation Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax investigation we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997 or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710