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Ex-KPMG partner in HMRC probe Eamonn Donaghy launches consultancy firm


Proceedings: Eamonn Donaghy

Proceedings: Eamonn Donaghy

Proceedings: Eamonn Donaghy

A former partner at KPMG in Belfast who is being investigated by HMRC and helped lead the way for devolving corporation tax here has launched his own business consultancy firm, it can be revealed.

And it comes as Eamonn Donaghy joins three fellow ex-partners at KPMG in Belfast in starting judicial proceedings against HMRC next Monday.

Mr Donaghy and his three former colleagues retired earlier this year after an investigation into their tax affairs by HMRC over their property company JEAP Ltd.

Now, Mr Donaghy is launching a business consultancy firm called Bona Fide Consultancy. And it comes as Mr Donaghy joins Paul Hollway, Jon D'Arcy and Arthur O'Brien in judicial review proceedings over the lawfulness of the warrants issued to HMRC to search their homes and business premises.

The case is due to be heard at the High Court in Belfast on Monday.

Mr Donaghy was writing about business and the current political and economic landscape - in his role with his new firm Bona Fide Consultancy - in the latest newsletter for members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Northern Ireland.

"Narrowing the lens a bit, it is accepted that business does not react well to uncertainty, which means unpredictable outcomes and more risk," he said. "What will businesses in the British Isles have made of the last three months of 'interesting' events.

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"We have seen a vote for Brexit (but not everywhere), a change in UK government, significant increased terrorism in Europe, and even GB, volatile currency exchange, rumblings of a significant constitutional change in the UK and the largest single drop in the purchasing managers' index on record."

At the time of the initial investigation back in November, a spokesman for HMRC said: "HMRC officers arrested four individuals from Northern Ireland yesterday in connection with suspected tax evasion. We can't comment further."

It was not able to comment any further when contacted by this paper yesterday.

Mr Donaghy was not available for comment.

The four were arrested last November, but have not been charged with any wrongdoing.

In February this year, KPMG announced that the partners in its Belfast office subject to the HMRC probe had retired.

Mr Donaghy, Mr D'Arcy, Mr Hollway and Mr O'Brien are now seeking to judicially review the lawfulness of the warrants issued to search their homes and business premises. Their lawyers argued back in May this year that significant information about their co-operation was omitted in applications for permission to trawl through the houses and offices.

Barry Macdonald QC said: "HMRC obtained these warrants in circumstances where they misrepresented the relevant facts."

Mr Donaghy was one of the main campaigners behind devolving corporation tax powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly in his role with Grow NI.