US v Dempsey – Extradition Case Clarifies Offence of Perverting the Course of Public Justice
On 6 July 2018 the High Court held in United States v Dempsey  EWHC 1724 (Admin) that making a false statement to an agent of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) in the context of suspected international terrorism was an extradition offence. The decision is important in that it clarifies the scope of the English common law offence of perverting the course of public justice.
Dempsey, a US citizen (“the Respondent”), was interviewed by the FBI at Rome airport in 2013, following time spent in Syria. The Respondent provided untruthful answers regarding the purpose of his travel to Syria. Following a second interview with an FBI agent at Rome airport in January 2014, the Respondent admitted that he had lied in the previous interview and that he had in fact fought against the Syrian government. As a result, he was indicted by a Grand Jury in the state of California, and a warrant for his arrest was subsequently issued. The US government requested the Respondent’s extradition from the UK, where he had arrived in September 2014. A District Judge came to the decision that the Respondent did not commit a serious enough offence to warrant being extradited to the US for further prosecution.
However, the High Court came to the opposite conclusion to that of the District Judge. The mere fact of lying to a police officer or other investigator may not of itself disclose the offence of perverting the course of justice. English law required that the action perverted, or tended to pervert, or was intended to pervert the course of public justice. The court found that the Respondent’s lies had the tendency “to put the FBI on to the wrong track”, and the FBI’s investigation was liable to be diverted as a result. The court noted that the offence with which the Respondent had been indicted in the US was not precisely the same as the common law offence. However, the court held that the requirements of the English common law offence included the elements of the US offence, and therefore the Respondent was being pursued for an extradition offence.
An Assessment to Tax is never ‘stale’, but it might be out of date: HMRC v Tooth
This article briefly discusses the key points arising out of the decision of the UK Supreme Court in HMRC v Tooth  UKSC 17. The case considered (1) whether a discovery assessment could become “stale” and (2) the meaning of the phrase “deliberate inaccuracy”.
VATA 1994 s.47, Agency, Onward Supply Relief, & Double Taxation
On 12 July 2021, the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) (“FTT”) released its decision in Scanwell Logistics (UK) Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 261 (TC), rejecting the taxpayer’s claim for onward supply relief (“OSR”).
Whilst OSR is now limited, post-Brexit, to goods imported into Northern Ireland for onward supply to the EU, the FTT’s discussion of agency under section 47 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA”) is of broader interest.
The case serves as a reminder of the significant financial consequences that can result from errors in tax planning, as Scanwell was ultimately held liable for £5.7 million in unpaid import VAT despite the fact that the imported goods almost immediately left the UK (which, if properly planned, could have meant Scanwell was relieved from liability to import VAT).
Draft Finance Bill 2022—tax avoidance measures
Helen McGhee, senior associate at Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, considers the draft Finance Bill 2022 clauses published on 20 July 2021 in relation to tax avoidance and recent updates to the tax avoidance regime.
Getting Closer: A Global Minimum Tax on Corporations
On 1 July 2021, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that countries representing over 90% of global GDP had agreed to a global minimum tax on corporations (“GMCT”). The GMCT seeks to put a floor on tax competition on corporate income through the introduction of a minimum corporate tax of at least 15%. Whilst certain elements give rise to positive expectations, some caveats should be noted. Much will depend on (1) the outcome of future political negotiations and (2) the detail of the drafting at international and national levels.
The DBKAG & K (CJEU) decision: an opportunity for investment funds?
On 17 June 2021, the European Court decided the joint cases K (C-58/20) and DBKAG (C-59/20) regarding whether the supply of certain services constituted the “management of special investment funds”, benefiting from the VAT exemption enshrined in Article 135(1)(g) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC.