Business World

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Ex-RBS trader loses case over film investments

Employer: Mr Walsh lost his job at RBS over the investment
Employer: Mr Walsh lost his job at RBS over the investment

Kaye Wiggins

A former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) trader has lost his multi-million-pound lawsuit over a fraudulent investment scheme that landed him in court and cost him a high-paid banking job.

Vincent Walsh, a former managing director at RBS, sued Greystone Financial Services Ltd over his backing of several films over three years, saying Greystone advised him to invest and submitted false documentation to tax authorities in his name. Mr Walsh was indicted because of the investment and lost his job, though he was later cleared of the charges.

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He sought at least £5.7m, which included his investments of about £1.1m and lost earnings he would have made if he had been able to keep working as a senior banker until retirement.

He said it cost him £812,000 (€906,000) to defend himself in the criminal case, according to the judgment.

"None of Mr Walsh's claims succeed," judge Christopher Nugee said in his ruling yesterday, where he found Mr Walsh was willing to go along with false information being submitted to the UK tax authority. "I am well aware that the consequences for him will be disastrous."

It is unsurprising that Mr Walsh blames a Greystone director for "everything", the judge said, but he did not find the director "guilty of deceit or deliberate concealment".

The lawsuit is part of the fallout from an investing boom that swept through the UK after then-chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown unveiled expanded film credits in his 1997 Budget. The UK government, seeing that the credit was being used mostly to lower tax bills, tightened the rules in 2007.

Mr Walsh and his attorney did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment. The ex-trader, who was dismissed for gross misconduct, was found not guilty of tax fraud by a London jury in 2015.

Mr Walsh used to be "a successful and very highly paid equities trader", the judge said in his ruling, and had "surplus cash to invest" because his only large outgoings were for mortgage interest and spending on holidays.

He put more than £1m into a series of film schemes designed to enable participants to cut their income tax.

At first, the plans generated "a number of substantial payments" from the UK tax authority, but in the end they were "nothing short of catastrophic for him", the judge said.

The case is Walsh v Greystone Financial Services Ltd, HC-2016-001362, UK High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.

Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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