The City dot.com investment firm, whose shares plummeted earlier this year with the collapse of technology stocks, admitted that £101,000 had been paid from an offshore trust to four employees a month before three of them resigned.
The controversy has arisen just weeks after Durlacher courted public attention after its shareholders pulled the plug on cash hungry NetImperative, the internet information and news service that called in receivers only six months after set-up.
A Sunday paper report yesterday claimed that a full-scale investigation had been launched and at least one of the four former employees had been asked to appear in court.
Finance director Graham Chamberlain said: ‘The payments were not contractual, we’re paid as a benefit in kind and were fully disclosed to the Inland Revenue on the employees P11D returns for that year.’
Chamberlain stated that Durlacher did not have any liability for tax and national insurance on theses payments, and that all payments subsequent to November 1995 have been paid through the PAYE system.
‘Any other ongoing discussions with the Inland Revenue are part of the routine process of agreeing tax computations’, he added.