A QC convicted earlier this month of stealing £627,839 of VAT has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Rohan Pershad QC, ironically enough a fraud specialist at 39 Essex Street, charged VAT to his clients but then pocketed it rather than passing it onto HMRC. This went on for 12 years, but the only certainties in life are death and taxes, so it inevitably caught up with him.

Pershad claimed it was all a misunderstanding, but the jury disagreed and convicted him by a majority of 11 to one. On Tuesday Blackfriars Crown Court handed down a chunky sentence. Although not quite as chunky as the four years and eight months recently meted out to fellow bent brief Andrew Iyer.

    Pershad's new clerk yesterday

Pershad said that the conviction was "unsafe" and protested that "I am not a dishonest man. I have never sought to defraud or cheat anyone. I will continue to fight to clear my name."

A spokesman for HMRC described Pershad's actions as "blatant theft from the public purse", and said that "HMRC will not stand by while criminals try to cheat the taxpayer".

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Anonymous 01 March 13 10:36

Unless, of course, the taxpayer is being cheated by bankers fixing the LIBOR, in which case, everyone apparently stands by rather than prosecute anyone.

Anonymous 01 March 13 11:01

How hard could it be for HMRC to produce a list of all barristers in private practice and cross reference it against those paying VAT. This chap apparently got away with not paying any VAT for 12 years. I suggest that HMRC need to investigate itself urgently. A hint for them - all chambers have websites listing the members, the Bar Council also maintain a list, they are in the phone book, the legal 500 etc etc :make such a list and do the work.