Dragon’s Den PR's HMRC court date pushed back

by Rachael Singh

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17 Sep 2012

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DRAGON'S DEN PR guru Richard Hillgrove's solicitors have announced they have pushed back an HMRC court date to later this month.

Earlier this year, Hillgrove was arrested by HMRC officers for a series of alleged tax offences and was due to appear in court on 14 September. However, his solicitors confirmed a preliminary hearing has been pushed back to 28 September at Taunton Crown Court.

On 12 June, Bristol HMRC officers carried out a dawn raid on Hillgrove and his wife at their Somerset property, taking the couple to the local police station.

However, Hillgrove argues HMRC officers were unaware he had already entered into the tax deferral scheme Time to Pay, and also made a £70,000 payment.

Initially, HMRC officers arrested Hillgrove and his wife on five counts of fraud or evasion each, but all five charges against his wife and all but one against Hillgrove were dropped.

Hillgrove and his wife were initially each charged with money laundering, knowingly concerned in fraudulent evasion related to VAT, knowingly concerned in fraudulent evasion related to income tax, acted with intent to prejudice/defraud HMRC, and concerned in acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.

"It is always my intention to pay my taxes. We simply had a cashflow issue. I am not a tax avoider. I don't have any clever schemes set up. This is an administrative blunder by HMRC which hasn't been helped by my local accountants protecting themselves by not providing a full disclosure of documents when approached with questions," he said.

Hillgrove, who founded Hillgrove PR, represents Dragon's Den stars James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne.

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