Europe Economy

Lawyer Who Revealed Goldman's UK Tax Deal Could Be Fired: Report

A solicitor employed at UK internal revenue service, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is facing disciplinary action, which could include being fired from his position, and possible legal action for blowing the whistle on a deal which saw Goldman Sachs being let off from paying 10 million pounds ($15.6 million) in tax, according to British newspaper The Guardian.

Goldman Sachs

Osita Mba who worked in the personal tax litigation team, told the UK National Audit Office and two committees of Parliament that HMRC had allowed Goldman Sachs to avoid the £10 million ($15.6 million) tax bill in evidence he presented in October.

Mba told the Treasury Select Committee that the permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, Dave Hartnett, had reached a deal with Goldman's "with a handshake" and his evidence led to Hartnett being accused of misleading Parliament, which he denied but admitted he had made a mistake by allowing the deal to take place.

According to the Guardian report, HMRC officials have launched an inquiry into Mba's conduct and the lawyer is currently barred from entering HMRC offices in London.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Select Committee's chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge referred to the treatment of Mba as "harassment", telling The Guardian: "Mr Mba's evidence has been crucial in uncovering not just specific but systemic problems in HMRC's secretive relationship with big corporations. This is harassment and is completely unacceptable."

Mba's identity was revealed on Thursday when the Labour MP's committee released details of the evidence presented to them by Mba, in which he claimed Hartnett had misled MPs over his role in the Goldman Sachs tax deal, a claim Hartnett has denied.

Hartnett told the Treasury Select Committee that although he had attended a dinner paid for by Goldman Sachs, he "knew nothing of Goldman's tax affairs when (he) was at that supper" and he did "not deal with Goldman's tax affairs".

A spokesman from HMRC confirmed to The Guardian that an inquiry was underway to investigate Mba and any investigation could lead to dismissal and prosecution.

HMRC told the Guardian: "We are carrying out a preliminary leak inquiry following the disclosure, including on the Guardian website, of internal departmental documents which may constitute a serious breach of confidential information."