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The Independent

Revealed: The Whitehall tax sleuth who made Nadhim Zahawi pay £5m



The identification of the Whitehall “worldwide tax detective” credited with making Nadhim Zahawi pay £5m – together with a £1m penalty – to HM Revenue and Customs could be revealed by The Unbiased.

Tom Gardiner, who was awarded the OBE in 2018 for a lifetime spent preventing tax crime, led a two-year investigation into Mr Zahawi.

The inquiry, which began in 2020, is believed to have been ongoing when, as chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Zahawi was answerable for HMRC.

Mr Gardiner, HMRC assistant director, is the “intelligence lead” of its “offshore directorate”.

He has labored for HMRC since 1985 and is considered one of many world’s main consultants on worldwide tax crime and money laundering.

The quotation for his OBE stated he had been honoured for “companies to income safety”.

Insiders say his forensic monetary sleuthing expertise have saved British taxpayers “tens of hundreds of thousands of kilos” over a few years.

Mr Gardiner’s boss, HMRC chief govt Jim Harra is predicted to be quizzed about how the organisation handles investigations into ministers’ tax affairs when he seems earlier than the Commons public accounts committee on Thursday.

The difficulty is all of the extra delicate within the case of Mr Zahawi, who was being investigated when he was chancellor, whose obligations embody overseeing HMRC.

In an announcement issued on Saturday, he stated his appointment as Tory chairman in October was cleared by the Cupboard Workplace.

Nonetheless, Labour MPs have identified his assertion didn’t say that the Cupboard Workplace had cleared his appointment as chancellor in July final 12 months, when The Unbiased was first to report the row over his tax affairs.

Mr Zahawi, who reportedly paid almost £5m to HMRC together with a £1m penalty, stated he made a “careless not deliberate” error in his tax affairs. The dispute contains claims that he tried to keep away from tax by holding hundreds of thousands of kilos in an offshore belief and arguing a few of it belonged to his father.

An ex-colleague of Mr Gardiner stated he’s “vastly revered, self-effacing and decided”, including lightheartedly: “He’s a cross between Martin Lewis and Sherlock Holmes.”

Tom Gardiner has been credited with saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of kilos

(Bailiwick Legislation Enforcement)

In 2018 Mr Gardiner signed a brand new settlement on behalf of the federal government with Guernsey within the Channel Islands to curb cash laundering.

He has spearheaded a worldwide marketing campaign by the UK to deliver worldwide tax cheats to heal.

He performed a distinguished position at a Tax Compliance and Transparency convention organised by the federal government in 2018 in Singapore to debate methods to struggle tax crime with the US, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

The host wrote on the time: “Tom Gardiner from HMRC gave an insightful presentation on the work he’s main in tackling the enablers and facilitators of tax crime.”

Mr Gardiner was praised for his work tackling “dangerous actors who’re doing the mistaken factor”.

The intention of the convention was to “fight worldwide and transnational tax crime and cash laundering”.

It included “enhancing current investigation and intelligence applications … figuring out important targets for brand spanking new investigations … bettering tactical intelligence”.

This was important to realize a “deeper understanding of the strategies, weaknesses and dangers from offshore tax crime and cybercrime, which current dangers for all tax jurisdictions”.

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