Euribor Trader unanimously acquitted. Amanda Pinto QC & Christopher Convey representing.

The trader was unanimously acquitted of one charge of conspiracy to defraud. Other defendants have been convicted of reference rate manipulation, including Christian Bittar, Philippe Moryoussef, Carlo Palombo and Colin Bermingham.

In the re-trial that started in January, Counsel for the SFO argued that the defendants worked together and with other traders at Barclays, Deutsche Bank AG and Societe General between January 2005 and December 2009 to submit “false or misleading” estimates to the process for setting Euribor rates.

The SFO’s probe into Euribor was part of an investigation launched in 2012 into interest rate manipulation that prompted an overhaul of rate-setting rules.

If you would like to find out more, or instruct Amanda or Christopher, please contact the Practice Directors.

Alan Standford and Asil Nadir Head to Court. Andrew Mitchell QC and Christopher Convey are Instructed

Allen Stanford, the disgraced Texas financier, in Houstan, Texas and Turkish-Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir in London head to court (23 January 2012).

Andrew Mitchell QC and Christopher Convey appear in Standford. Christopher Covey instructed in Nadir and Stanford.

Stanford will battle charges that he operated a $7 billion Ponzi scheme from Stanford International Bank, his offshore bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

While Turkish-Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir, who returned to Britain two years ago after 17 years abroad, will defent his failed Polly Peck business empire from charges dating back to the 1980s.

Stanford, a native Texan who was knighted by the government of Antigua in 2006, is accused of misleading investors about certificates of deposit (CDs) issued by his offshore bank, in one of the biggest white collar fraud cases since Bernard Madoff.

The CDs were touted as safe, with funds "generally invested in investment grade bonds, securities and foreign currency deposit," according to literature distributed by Stanford's brokerage firm.

Instead, prosecutors allege, Stanford invested CD proceeds in illiquid pet-project investments that included Caribbean real estate, a Cowboys and Indians magazine and a pawn shop operator. He also loaned more than $2 billion to himself.

The alleged Ponzi scheme started to unravel in late 2008 as the financial crisis deepened and more and more investors asked for redemptions, a situation that left Stanford scrambling for cash.

Prosecutors will likely rely heavily on the testimony of the firm's former Chief Financial Officer James Davis, who pleaded guilty in August 2009 and has been cooperating with the government. The two men were college roommates at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

In past interviews, Stanford has blamed Davis, a theme that is likely to be repeated by the defense at trial.

"I didn't oversee anything in the investment portfolio, that was the CFO's responsibility,"

Stanford, 61, has pleaded not guilty to 14 criminal counts of fraud, obstruction of a federal investigation and conspiracy to launder money.

Among the alleged crimes prosecutors expect to prove to the Houston jury is that Stanford was involved in falsifying financial statements and made false statements about Stanford International Bank's financial condition.

The SEC seized all of Stanford's assets in February 2009 after filing a civil lawsuit. His lawyer at the time, Dick DeGuerin, said the government's action did not even leave enough money for his client to buy underwear.

Once No. 205 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, Stanford's defence is paid for with US tax dollars and his 81-year-old mother is struggling to help.

In London Asil Nadir, the 70-year-old tycoon, has previously pleaded not guilty to 13 charges, including theft of £33.1 million and $2.5 million from the business between 1987 and 1990.

(London Evening Standard 23 January 2011)

Christopher Convey Wins Key Alcohol Duty Case in Tax Tribunal

Christopher Convey won this "hard-fought case" which was ultimately resolved on the grounds of a breach of the Appellant’s legitimate expectation to receive Duty Drawback payments amounting to almost £1.25 million from HM Revenue and Customs.

The case related to a topic that has been before the High Court and the Lower Tier Tax Tribunal on a number of recent occasions: namely claims that HMRC had wrongly refused to refund Alcoholic Liquor Duty when duty drawback claims have been submitted by a trader claiming to be exporting “duty paid” beer - the ground for refusal being that the drawback claimant has failed to demonstrate to HMRC that the reclaimed duty had been paid.

In this case the Appellant, a legitimate duty trader, appealed against the refusal, in August 2006, of HMRC to meet just under £1.25 million of claims for duty repayments that were properly made.

This is believed to be the first and only such success for an Appellant against the Revenue following its change of position with regard to the Duty Drawback scheme in 2006.

A summary of points raised follows:

  • Excise Duty;
  • Reclaim of excise duty on exportation of beer;
  • Whether the Appellant had satisfied the condition of demonstrating that the beer that it had exported had been "eligible beer", namely beer in respect of which duty had been paid and not previously refunded;
  • Whether the First-tier Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear a legitimate expectations argument;
  • Whether the Tribunal could and should consider whether the way in which HMRC was applying the drawback Regulations breached any principle of European Law;
  • Whether the manner of applying the drawback Regulations offended the principle of free movement of goods;
  • Whether the conduct of HMRC breached the Appellant’s Human Rights within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.The judgment makes for essential reading on the topic, the jurisdiction of the first-tier tax tribunal to hear human rights issues, EU matters and First Protocol rights generally.

The judgment makes for essential reading on the jurisdiction of the First Tier Tax Tribunal to hear public law arguments – in particular in relation to legitimate expectation – both at common law and arising under the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law.

It also makes for compelling and informative reading in relation to the actions of HM Revenue and Customs.

Christopher Convey was instructed by Andrew Benson of Byrne and Partners and led David Yates of Pump Court Tax Chambers.

Click here: to download.