HMRC estimates Lunn fraud at £117m

THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION into the Christopher Lunn & Co media accountants will review alleged fraud worth £117m, HM Revenue & Customs has estimated.

The firm – whose clients had reportedly included BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce and actress Sadie Frost – won its High Court judicial review against HMRC commissioners’ decision to remove its tax agent status. However, many damaging claims were made about the firm’s processes during the hearing.

When making their decision, the commissioners estimated that the fraud was worth around £117m plus interest and penalties since 1996/97 and had been across the firm’s client base.

Correspondence between HMRC compliance officers and CLAC had shown that there were concerns that turnover “appeared to be represented either totally or substantially by work in progress”, and clients’ record-keeping “appears to fall short of their statutory obligations”.

The criminal investigation is expected later this year.

The Guardian has reported that Bruce has stopped using CLAC since the allegations came to light.

In a statement yesterday in repsonse to the judicial review, Christopher Lunn, the founder and owner of Christopher Lunn and Company, said the decision was “hopefully a major step towards clearing our names”.

“We have been astonished at the allegations which HMRC have made which we believe are fundamentally flawed and inaccurate. This victory now gives us the opportunity to rebut the allegations that have been thrown at us.”

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