£1.6 MILLION CONFISCATION ORDER FOR TAX CHEAT BARRISTER

24 Oct 2003 11:45 AM

Michael Richard Stannard, a 54-year-old barrister, has been ordered to pay £1,678,954 following an extended confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court. Stannard, of Moulin de Beaufils, Hambye, Normandy in France was given 12 months in which to satisfy the Order. If he fails to do so he risks adding 4 years to the 4-1/2 years prison sentence he received at Southwark Crown Court back in February 2001 where, after a four month trial, he was convicted on two counts of fraud committed between 1 October 1992 and 31 October 1997.

The fraud was one of claiming a deduction against profits of two companies Bonnington Shipping Ltd and Fairflight Leasing Ltd for interest paid in advance in respect of debenture bonds when no such transactions had taken place.

The Confiscation Order was based on the pecuniary advantage that Stannard obtained through the two companies whereby they had not paid the tax due on their true profits and not on the lower figure of the sums retained and used by Stannard. In a written statement handed down at the confiscation hearing, His Honour Judge Fingret stated that: "Had this fraud succeeded (Stannard) would have been better off to the tune of £2,129,649 plus interest - of £969,381, a benefit of £3,099,030."

A Confiscation Order made in the lower of two figures takes into account the benefit and the Defendant's realisable assets. HHJ Fingret identified assets either belong to Stannard or which he had gifted to others. Some assets were held by offshore companies, owned by a discretionary Liechtenstein trust.

The judge found that there was:

"Clear evidence that Rupert Trust is or was controlled by (Stannard)". He continued that Stannard: "Cannot hide behind the Rupert Trust in these proceedings".

Assets of the Rupert Trust were thereby treated as Stannard's, together with sums identified as being gifted by him to others. The Judge calculated the realisable assets to be £1,678,954 and he ordered that this amount should be paid within 12 months.

DETAILS

1. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 provides for a default sentence to be made in addition to the sentence of the crime if the confiscation is not satisfied within the time specified. If Stannard fails to pay the £1,678,954 within 12 months a default sentence of 4 years will apply.

2. Michael Richard Stannard, is a Tax Barrister of the Middle Temple having been called to the Bar in 1973. He is also a member of the Gibraltar Bar. An appeal by him against conviction and sentence were dismissed on 13 February 2002.

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