An MP accused HMRC last week in a parliamentary debate of pursuing a “disgraceful vendetta” and called into question the professional competence and integrity of Louise Brittan, a high profile insolvency practitioner appointed at a company in his constituency in 2009.
Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, Robert Neil raised the case of Abbey Forwarding in an adjournment debate on Friday 17 January. A bonded warehouse company based in East London, Abbey was closed down in 2009 after HMRC raised assessments for nearly £6m in excise duty after claiming it had evidence 301 shipments of tax-exempt alcohol had been diverted for resale in the UK.
By precipitating a provisional liquidation process, HMRC prevented the company directors from appealing appeal against the assessments. Deloitte’s Louise Brittain was appointed liquidator at an ex parte hearing from which the Abbey Forwarding directors had been barred and embarked on a “fire sale” of the company’s assets. With the connivance of HMRC, the liquidator “deliberately sought to shut them out from pursuing any avenue of appeal against those assessments”, the MP alleged.
Louise Brittain strongly contested the MP's allegations and provided a point-by-point clarification that was published alongside this article.