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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Queen's Counsel convicted of £600,000 VAT fraud

11/02/2013

Rohan Pershad, a highly experienced barrister and Queen's Counsel, was today convicted at Blackfriars Crown Court of one count of cheating the public revenue, between 1 June 1999 and 24 September 2011.

Keri Ashworth-Beaumont, Specialist Prosecutor from the CPS Central Fraud Division, said: "Rohan Pershad QC failed to pay VAT for a period of 12 years, despite charging his clients that VAT. As a result, he retained an additional private income of £624,579, which should have been paid to HMRC and the public purse. By convicting him today, the jury has concluded that Pershad was acting dishonestly and his failure to pay was not simply an error or mistake.

"He claimed that his chambers had given the impression that payment of his VAT had been taken care of, but the jury clearly rejected that assertion. Pershad always admitted that he understood the law and the responsibility for meeting his obligations rested on him alone.

"The message is clear; paying tax is not an optional extra, in any area of working life and withholding tax dishonestly may lead to prosecution."

Background:

On 22 January 2013, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, spoke publicly about the importance of prosecuting tax evasion. He argued that tax evasion should not be seen as a victimless crime as it costs the British economy £14 billion per year in lost revenue, equivalent to £769 for every family in the UK. He also set out how the CPS would be "ramping up" the number of HMRC cases, with the volume of prosecutions increasing five fold over the five years to 2014/15.

Figures already available demonstrate that in 2010-11, the CPS successfully prosecuted around 200 tax and excise evasion cases; one year later, 2011-12, that number had risen to more than 550. This financial year to date, 86% of cases originating with HMRC have resulted in conviction.

The DPP's speech is available in full on the CPS website.

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