FRC extends Cup Trust investigation to include audited accounts

ACCOUNTANCY FIRM Hillier Hopkins has been dragged into the FRC’s probe into controversial charity The Cup Trust, after the accounting watchdog said it will extend the scope of its investigation.

Under its accountancy scheme, the FRC is extending the scope of its investigation into the Cup Trust, a registered charity used a front for an avoidance scheme saving investors £46m in tax and artificially generating Gift Aid, to include the preparation and audit of the financial statements for the years ended 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011.

The audit in respect of each year was carried out by Hillier Hopkins LLP, the FRC said.

The FRC launched its investigation into the Cup Trust in December last year in what is understood to be the first ever investigation by an accounting regulator into the tax planning activities of member firms.

Under its accountancy scheme, the FRC is investigating whether any member associated with controversial charity The Cup Trust committed misconduct with respect to the establishment and operation of the charity and any related tax planning issues.

The Cup Trust, which has not acted illegally, was shut down in February following a first-tier tribunal ruling found the scheme served no other purpose than to save tax.

“Hillier Hopkins LLP has been cooperating with the ongoing investigations by the FRC. We have not been informed of the nature of the extended investigation which the FRC is now conducting, beyond the information in their press notice. Consequently we have no further information on which to make comment at this time. We will continue to fully cooperate with the FRC,” the firm said in a statement.

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