Belfast Telegraph

Document row delays HMRC probe challenge by former KPMG partners

By John Mulgrew

A court challenge against HMRC taken by four former executives at a Belfast accountancy giant has been pushed back amid legal arguments over which documents can be disclosed.

Ex-KPMG executives Eamonn Donaghy, Jon D'Arcy, Paul Hollway and Arthur O'Brien are seeking to judicially review HM Revenue and Customs' handling of a probe into suspected tax evasion, which included searches of their homes and offices.

The court heard warrants to search their homes and offices were unlawfully and unreasonably obtained.

The four men were arrested last November. However, they have not been charged with any wrongdoing.

During a discovery application yesterday, Belfast High Court heard the main issues which centre around the four men's case.

Barry Macdonald QC told the court the three main points included "misleading the judges" over issuing search warrants, the "manner in which they were executed" and whether HMRC "acted in bad faith".

The legal team for HMRC has said it is prepared to disclose documents relating to the case, including plans for the searches of the four ex-KPMG men.

However, they said some elements are of an "operationally sensitive" nature.

The application will now be heard next week.

At a previous court hearing, the investigation was branded a publicity stunt.

Lawyers for the four men argued that information about their co-operation was omitted in applications for permission to trawl through homes and offices.

Belfast Telegraph