Southern Cross landlord faces HMRC legal challenge

SOUTHERN CROSS landlord Nick Leslau is facing a possible legal challenge by HM Revenue & Customs over a £46m dividend.

His company, Prestbury West Coast Rice, made the dividend payment while a tax investigation was ongoing. Last year, the investigation imposed a £13.5m tax bill on the company, resulting in the liquidation of the business, which was a joint venture with Sir Tom Hunter, the Daily Telegraph reports.

PKF liquidators working for HMRC have instructed counsel to see if there is any action that can be taken over the dividend payments.

A Prestbury statement in 2010 said: “Counsel’s opinion has been sought in relation to dividends paid by that group in the period during which it was being wound down. The directors’ belief is that all dividends and capital returns were made in good faith.”

Leslau and Sir Hunter face potential claims of up to £6.5m each. There is no suggestion that HMRC will pursue the £13.5m tax bill, the Telegraph says.

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