London barrister Rohan Anthony Pershad QC has today (2 August) faced charges in court of failing to pay £600,000 in VAT.
Pershad was summoned to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court after being accused of cheating the public purse over a 12-year period.
Kingsley Napley partner Angus McBride represented Pershad in court and indicated that his client will plead "not guilty" to a charge of allegedly not declaring VAT on services.
As reported in The Lawyer, Pershad will next appear at Blackfriars Crown Court on 28 August for a plea and case management hearing.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) allege he knowingly failed to declare VAT payments for which he charged on services he provided while working as a barrister between June 1999 and September 2011.
Keri Ashworth-Beaumont from the CPS's fraud division said: "The evidence suggests that he charged and received VAT payments on services he provided whilst practising as a barrister, but which he knowingly failed to declare or pay to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.”
The barrister then issued the following statement via his lawyer:
“The CPS has issued this summons while I am still providing HMRC and the CPS with further information and representations setting out why I am not guilty of any offence.
“I am extremely disappointed that the CPS has seen fit to issue a press release whilst discussions are ongoing.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I deny any dishonest activity in relation to my tax affairs and if a decision is made to pursue this matter in court, I will defend myself vigorously.”
Pershad, who works at 39 Essex Street chambers in London, was called to the bar in 1991 and made QC last year. In the past the barrister has dealt with criminal negligence claims as well as personal injury cases.
A statement from 39 Essex Street said Pershad had withdrawn his membership by “mutual agreement” until the criminal proceedings against him are resolved.