Tax chiefs criticised for refusing to raid firm which donated money to Conservatives

Tax chiefs have been criticised for refusing to raid the offices of a firm suspected of laundering huge sums of money seemingly because they donated money to the Conservatives.

Officials at HMRC last year rebuffed a request from French authorities to assist an investigation into telecoms giant Lycamobile over its financial activities.

In its refusal letter, HMRC said the firm was the “biggest corporate donor to the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Theresa May and donated €1.25m to the Prince Charles Trust in 2012".

The letter from HMRC also noted that Lycamobile was a huge company with “large assets at their disposal” and would be unlikely to agree to a raid and might respond with a legal challenge.

It said the French may not have provided enough "solid information" against the firm to warrant such a raid.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “If true, these are deeply concerning revelations. The fact that a Tory donor could be allowed to potentially subvert the system will look bad to taxpayers who play by the rules.

“The Tories have serious questions to answer on this matter, and I hope the Chancellor immediately comes forward to explain this behaviour by HMRC and ensure there was no undue pressure exerted by Conservative Party politicians or officials.”

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