Four KPMG senior staff arrested in tax probe
Four senior partners from accountancy firm KPMG have been arrested in connection with suspected tax evasion -including the man who heads its corporate finance practice across the island of Ireland.
The accountancy firm partners were arrested by British Revenue and Customs in Belfast. KPMG said the men that had been placed on "administrative leave".
KPMG is one of the so-called 'Big Four' practices that dominate the accounting and advisory sector, including regularly advising the Government here on financial issues, notably being appointed to lead the liquidation of IBRC.
The four men being investigated are Paul Hollway who leads KPMG's corporate finance practice in Ireland, Jon D'Arcy, Arthur O'Brien and Eamonn Donaghy.
Mr Donaghy is head of tax for KPMG in Belfast, and is also the high profile head of Grow NI - a business-backed organisation that led the campaign for devolving corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Jon D'Arcy is chairman of KPMG's Belfast office.
KPMG said in a statement it was co-operating with the investigation. But it added: "We do not have any indication that this investigation relates to the business of KPMG or the business of our clients."
A spokesman for KPMG said: "We can confirm that representatives of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have advised us that they are conducting an investigation and visited our Belfast office (on Wednesday).
"We are co-operating with that investigation. It is important to emphasise that we do not have any indication that this investigation relates to the business of KPMG or the business of our clients.
"Pending further information and inquiry, we can confirm that four partners in our Belfast office are on administrative leave. As the matter is ongoing, KPMG is not in a position to make any further comment at this stage."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for HMRC said: "HMRC officers arrested four individuals from Northern Ireland (on Wednesday) in connection with suspected tax evasion. We can't comment further."
But it wouldn't clarify whether any further developments had been made. Aside from their company roles, the four men are also directors in property investment business Jeap Limited.
According to a BBC report in 2011, the firm suffered major losses due to the property crash.
The latest limited accounts filed to Companies House - which cover the period to March 31, 2014 - shows Jeap Limited has debts of £4.3m, up from £4.1m a year previous.
KPMG said previously there was no conflict of interest in the investments carried out by the individual partners.