Leader of campaign to cut Northern Ireland's corporation tax arrested in tax probe
KPMG places four Belfast partners on 'administrative leave' as HMRC launches investigation
Four partners at KPMG in Belfast — including the man who has led the recent campaign to lower corporation tax in Northern Ireland — have been placed on "administrative leave" after HM Revenue and Customs began an investigation.
Officials visited the accountancy firm's Belfast office centre office yesterday.
Those being investigated include Jon D'Arcy, Arthur O'Brien and Paul Hollway and Eamonn Donaghy.
Mr Donaghy leads Grow NI — a business-backed organisation which has long campaigned for devolving corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and lowering the rate in order to make the region more competitive with the Republic.
A spokesman for KPMG said:
"We can confirm that representatives of HM Revenue and Customs have advised us that they are conducting an investigation and visited our Belfast office yesterday.
“We are cooperating 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 enquiry, we can confirm that four partners in our Belfast office are on administrative leave. As the matter is on-going, KPMG is not in a position to make any further comment at this stage.”
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."
The four men held are also directors in a property business company called JEAP Ltd.
According to a BBC report in 2011, the firm had previously suffered major losses, due to the property crash.
But it's not clear whether that firm forms part of the investigation.