Tax QC Thornhill faces disciplinary over professional misconduct

PROMINENT TAX QC Andrew Thornhill is facing disciplinary action from the Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service over alleged professional misconduct and conduct likely to bring the profession into disrepute.

A charge sheet published by the service states Thornhill is accused of “engaging in conduct that was dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister and/or engaging in conduct that is likely to bring the profession into disrepute; compromising professional independence and/or accepting monies that led to a compromise of professional independence; compromising professional standards and accepting instructions when professionally embarrassed”.

Thornhill has this year been embroiled in controversy relating to a registered charity called Raleigh – founded by Barry and Naomi Ackerman – which allegedly lent half a million pounds to a subsidiary company, and in turn gave the money to Thornhill to invest. He decided to put the money into a waste management company, which attracted several tax breaks, according to reports.

After little or no money made its way back to the charity, the Charity Commission ordered Thornhill to pay the cash back. However, a £75,000 cheque from Thornhill to the charity bounced.

Thornhill has been linked with several tax avoidance schemes in the past, with former Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge once describing him as “one of these guys who prostitutes themselves to these schemes“. Thornhill branded Hodge’s claim at the time “outrageous”.

Thornhill has since repaid his debt the charity, albeit only half. Another company linked to Ackerman cleared the charity’s accounts.

Thornhill’s hearing will take place in January.

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