The founder of investment banking boutique Zeus Capital who was acquitted of tax fraud in 2014 has said he will sue the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if they fail to publish internal reviews examining their handling of the case.
Speaking exclusively to City A.M., Richard Hughes said he had been put through "seven years of hell" while he was investigated by HMRC, along with nine others, for conspiracy to defraud and intent to defraud through a controversial tax scheme designed to promote investment in the film industry but which has been used by individuals to minimise their tax bill.
The CPS and HMRC commissioned their own internal reviews into the handling of the case following its dismissal. The CPS admitted to "fundamental failures" in a letter to Hughes dated March this year.
Hughes said he was demanding a public apology and that the findings of the reviews be made public. "The admissions of a fundamental failure to follow reasonable lines of inquiry, wholesale failures in the disclosure process and a premature charging decision shows systemic failings at every level of both the CPS and HMRC and that needs addressing.
"I will bring a private criminal prosecution if HMRC and the CPS don't start answering questions honestly."
A CPS spokesperson said: “This was an extremely complex case which required prosecutors and external counsel to consider a substantial volume of material.
“The case against the defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud the public revenue was dismissed by the court on the basis of the wording of the charges. The CPS did not make the decision to drop the case.
“An application for costs has been made on behalf of the defendants and that application is currently before the court and is yet to be determined. In those circumstances it would be inappropriate for the CPS to comment further on matters which may be relevant to that application.”
A spokesperson for HMRC added: “An application for costs has been made on behalf of the defendants and that application is currently before the court and is yet to be determined. In those circumstances it would be inappropriate for the HMRC to comment further on matters which may be relevant to that application.”