QC Joss Ticehurst cross-examined PR guru Richard Hillgrove this week in his £100,000 tax fraud trial, which is taking place at Bristol Crown Court.
Much of the cross-examination focused on Hillgrove’s “out of control” spending while he should have been paying HMRC money for unpaid VAT and PAYE.
Hillgrove’s defence was that he wasn’t trying to get away with not paying HMRC, but he was delaying paying them.
Ticehurst started his analysis of Hillgrove’s expenditure by looking at his spending on flowers for the office.
“You were paying for flowers in the office when the company was not paying its TTP.”
Hillgrove said the £340 bill in question could have been for “gifts to clients” and that he was not filling the office with flowers.
“Would your staff have been happy you were sending clients Champagne and flowers?” Ticehurst said. “And the fact you were paying your clients using HMRC money?”
“I accept my spending should have been under control,” Hillgrove replied.
Ticehurst highlighted a Selfridges bill that was put through the business account, along with bills for the Chelsea Village Hotel, Harvey Nichols, Claridges, Ryder Street Chambers in St James, and dinner at the Cavendish.
“I didn’t have any differentiation...