Accountants on £1m Gift Aid fraud charge are bailed to appear at the Old Bailey

Edward Watkin Gittins and Martin Calcutt were charged after an HMRC investigation into the alleged abuse of tax relief

The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey

The two accountants charged in connection with an alleged £1m Gift Aid fraud have been bailed to appear at the Old Bailey in London on 9 September.

Edward Watkin Gittins, an Isle of Man resident and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and Martin Calcutt, a member of the ICAEW, appeared at City of London Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with cheating the public revenue.

Calcutt is facing an additional charge of forgery.

The case was referred to the Central Criminal Court for a plea and case management hearing on 9 September. The pair have been placed on unconditional bail.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it charged both men after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs, which found evidence of a fraud allegedly costing the public revenue "in the region of £1m".

Mark Spragg of Keystone Law, the solicitor representing Watkin Gittins, was not available to comment when contacted by Third Sector this morning.

He told The Times newspaper that Watkin Gittins denied the charges against him. "Mr Gittins has cooperated throughout the investigation and answered questions and supplied material to HMRC," said Spragg. "He denies any wrongdoing and is relishing the opportunity to finally clear his name."

It is alleged that between March 2004 and February 2007 Watkin Gittins and Calcutt cheated the public revenue by abusing tax relief that allows individuals making gifts to charity to offset the market value of the gifts against their tax liabilities, the CPS said.

Watkin Gittins is alleged to have designed the scheme while both he and Calcutt implemented it, the CPS said.

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