A tax adviser has been found guilty of attempting to defraud clients of £70m with a tax avoidance scheme.
David Perrin, deputy managing director at Vantis Tax, sold his scheme to wealthy clients, exploiting the law on giving shares to charity, Blackfriars Crown Court found.
Perrin, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison, used a network of finance professionals to advise around 600 clients to buy penny shares in four companies he had set up.
He listed the companies on the Channel Islands stock exchange and used money from an offshore account to buy and sell shares to manipulate the price.
Share owners then donated 329 million shares to various charities and tried to claim £70m tax relief on a total of £213m of income and company profits.
However these figures were based on the shares being worth £1, rather than their true value.
Perrin earned £2m in fees from clients using the scheme, which he later spent on second homes, holidays, works of art and cars.
The court heard that Vantis employees had performed a song mocking their victims at their annual conference.
Sung to the tune of Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive", employees sang: "They should have changed that stupid law, they should have b*ggered charity, but they have left that lovely tax relief, for folks to pay to me."
Jim Graham, criminal investigator at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, said: "This cynical fraud not only stole millions of pounds from taxpayers, but also conned innocent charities into accepting gifts of virtually worthless shares, just so Perrin could inflate his own criminal earnings."
Perrin will be sentenced on 9 February 2012 .
Partner Insight: For Blackfinch, the arrival of its IHT portfolio services was a 'natural evolution' in the group's offering and points to an established track record of returning cash to investors.
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