Tax Dodging / Avoidance / Offshore / Dodgy Schemes ? Welcome To ... DirtyMoneyLand ! UK Tax ? That's For Suckers to Pay

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An interesting one ... interlocks with this thread ... promises ... legally enforceable ?

Especially when considering that the " Purchase " price was based on that assumption :

Northern Rock : US firm " Misled " UK government on mortgages.

A US private equity company has been accused of misleading the government about the biggest sale of state assets in UK history.

BBC Panorama has discovered Cerberus told the government it was planning to offer homeowners better mortgage deals before its £13bn purchase of former Northern Rock mortgages in 2016.

But the company hasn't provided any new mortgages and 65,000 homeowners are still trapped on high interest rates.

Cerberus denies the allegation.

Many of the homeowners are mortgage prisoners, who cannot shop around for a better deal because their loans are too large or their credit rating has been damaged.


Lisa and Mark Elkins have to pay £2,500 a month on their mortgage because their interest rate is nearly 5%. That's about three times the best market rate.

They have tried to keep up with the monthly payments by taking on extra jobs and working long hours. The couple has also borrowed £20,000 from family and friends.

But Lisa says they now have no choice but to sell their home of 15 years: "I love the neighbours and I love the house but it's become a rock around my neck. You feel like you're sinking and you can't get up and I can't have that any more."

The couple has been trapped on high interest rates since the government took over Northern Rock in 2007.

BBC Panorama has calculated that the high rates have cost the Elkins an additional £30,000 over the past decade.

Mark tells the programme the money could have transformed their lives: "We wouldn't have been forced into taking on loans from family and struggling. I could have a day or two days off, I could have had a weekend."

" New deals "

The Labour peer Lord McFall says that many homeowners are paying large amounts of extra interest: "In some of the case studies I've seen, people with a mortgage would be paying an extra £40-50,000 in the mortgage before it's completed. That is totally unacceptable."

At the time of the £13bn sale, the government bank, UKAR, told Lord McFall that homeowners should get better mortgage deals from Cerberus.

In a letter to the peer, UKAR said that "by returning ownership to the private sector the option to be offered new deals, extra lending and fixed rates should become available to them".

A UKAR spokesman told the programme that Cerberus had the ability to lend to the former Northern Rock customers and that UKAR believed they intended to do so.

"The reply to Lord McFall sent on behalf of the UKAR board of directors was based on information presented to UKAR and the board had no reason to disbelieve this at that time."

" Challenger bank "

Panorama understands that the information presented to UKAR was in the pitch documents Cerberus submitted when it applied to buy the mortgages.

They said they planned to "evolve into an online challenger bank" providing customers with "a wider range of products".

Before the sale was finalised, however, the Financial Conduct Authority told Cerberus it couldn't offer new mortgages until it put the right systems and people in place. Nearly three years later, Cerberus still hasn't done that.

The private equity firm said: "Cerberus and our affiliates take great pride in being good corporate citizens who are committed to compliance with the strongest ethical standards and all legislative and regulatory requirements. We reject any allegations by BBC Panorama to the contrary."

Mistakes and complaints

Some of the homeowners say that as well as paying high interest rates, they have also been poorly treated by Cerberus.

Rachel and Adrian Neale, from Hinckley, fell into arrears on their mortgage when Rachel became seriously ill with Crohn's Disease.

They have paid off most of the arrears and have kept up their monthly payments with Cerberus's mortgage company, Landmark Mortgages. But Landmark keeps making mistakes and issuing default notices.

The couple say they have already made about 70 complaints and that nearly all have been upheld.

"You're in their palm basically," said Adrian. "They can do what they want, that's how it makes you feel, they can pull the rug from underneath you at any time."

It can take hours on the phone to sort out the mistakes and the default notices have badly affected Adrian's building business.

"I can't take on big jobs because I can't gain credit to fund a big job. Building merchants, credit accounts, I can't get access to it and it's held me back massively really in my business."

Landmark says it is committed to high standards of fair customer treatment: "Our staff are trained to deliver fair, consistent and right customer outcomes. Landmark promotes high conduct standards, adopting a tailored approach to customers experiencing financial hardship to ensure we find a suitable and fair solution."

Another clear case of us , the taxpayers , being taken for a ride.

Follow the money ...
Crocodile tears time again ?

Film stars Jude Law and Sienna Miller are among hundreds of celebrities who face a £500m tax bill after an avoidance scheme crackdown

Future Capital Partners has gone into liquidation after an HRMC crackdown.

It attracted over £7bn in investment from 6,000 celebrities and wealthy clients.

The combined tax bill faced by clients is understood to be around £500m.

The company was one of the UK's biggest managers of tax avoidance schemes, but its closure has left a trail of crippling losses, tax bills, penalties and potential bankruptcy for many household names.

It attracted over £7 billion in investment from 6,000 celebrities and wealthy clients. They included footballers and managers, such as Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, and ex-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

FCP had hundreds of film schemes including Eclipse 35, which left investors facing heavy losses after the taxman's challenge. Many investors spent more money with FCP after it launched a legal challenge in an attempt to protect their schemes.

FCP boss Tim Levy recently warned stars faced 'the absolute inability to contest HMRC'. Stuart Cotton, founder of the not-for-profit support group, said: 'The liquidation of FCP marks the physical end of the promotion of an array of investments... that many investors, including celebrities have come to regard as highly toxic.'

HMRC stated: ' Tax avoidance doesn't pay.'


Until the next one ...
EU clamps down on Isle of Man tax loophole for private jets and yachts.

European commission writes to UK over ‘abusive practices’ in crown dependency.

The European commission has launched infringement proceedings against the Isle of Man and Italy over what it says are illegal tax breaks given to some of the world’s wealthiest people over their purchases of private jets and yachts.

The Guardian and the BBC revealed last November how the Isle of Man, a crown dependency that officially belongs to the Queen and is answerable to the British government, had allowed billionaires and multinational companies to avoid £790m of VAT on more than 200 aircraft imported to Europe since 2011.

The avoidance came to light through the Paradise Papers, a leak of data from the offshore law firm Appleby, which was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with media around the world, including the Guardian.

The Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was among those who avoided tax under schemes now deemed by the commission to be contrary to EU tax law.

Hamilton, who paid no VAT when importing his red £16.5m Bombardier jet, said at the time that he had instructed a senior lawyer to check his arrangements and he had been told they were lawful.

A number of Russian oligarchs who have since been blacklisted under US or European sanctions regimes also avoided tax using the schemes. They include Vladimir Putin’s family friends Arkady and Boris Rotenberg and the aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska.

The commission’s decision is a blow for EY, one of the “big four” accountancy firms, whose local office in Douglas advised on many of the private jet refunds approved by Isle of Man customs. EY declined to comment.