Gauke favoured HMRC’s rebuttal plans against solicitor Mba

EXCHEQUER SECRETARY David Gauke was in favour of the taxman rebutting claims from one of its solicitors that HMRC sold itself short in deals with Goldman Sachs and Vodafone.

HMRC solicitor Osita Mba had given evidence to the Public Accounts Committee revealing details about the tax settlements struck between the taxman and the two companies.

In emails seen by The Guardian, a senior HMRC press officer tells Gauke’s secretary that Mba’s evidence was “partial, incomplete and flawed”. Proposing to put forward then-permanent tax secretary Dave Hartnett for an on-the-record interview with the FT to rebut some of the claims, the secretary said Gauke was “positive” about the plan.

The Treasury said this morning that the review by the NAO of the deal showed them to be “reasonable”, and that Gauke was not kept informed of any details relating to Mba’s employment issues with HMRC, “nor was he involved in any decisions related to its handling”.

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