Skint Footballers Blow Whistle On UCIS Investments

Famous footballers who invested a £1 billion or more in dodgy tax avoidance schemes are facing financial problems and even bankruptcy.

At least 219 Premier League players have put money in to 128 unregulated collective investment schemes (UCIS) during the past 15 years, according to a firm that recovers cash paid in to missold investments.

Most are based on film and TV projects.

The firm, Rebus, claims advisers failed to explain the implications of the investments to the players and that many have lost significant amounts of cash as a result.

“Finances are bad for some players,” said a spokesman. “Even though some earned millions, one is on the edge of bankruptcy, one is still playing past the normal retirement age to settle tax bills and others have serious money problems.”

Watchdog warning

The Financial Conduct Authority has just reiterated warnings about UCIS investments.

The consumer watchdog is wary that investors picking up low returns from other savings and investment products may look to riskier UCIS to boost their income.

However, the funds are not regulated nor covered by the financial compensation scheme, so if the deal goes wrong, investors have to go to court to try to win their money back.

This is often too late, as UCIS money often goes offshore to jurisdictions beyond the reach of British courts or into overseas property projects that fail and leave no funds to trace.

Most of the players who have lost money in UCIS investments were involved with Manchester United, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, West Ham, Newcastle and Tottenham.

Each player is thought to have invested around £2.4 million, says Rebus.

Film fraud

Meanwhile, a gang of fraudsters who tried to scamming £2.8 million in tax were jailed in the first film tax relief prosecution.

The gang of five were sent to prison for almost 24 years between them after admitting charges of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue at Southwark Crown Court, London.

The film, A Landscape of Lives, was supposed have a cast of Hollywood stars and £19 million funding.

The elaborate fraud claimed millions had been spent on pre-shooting the film and the gang tried to claim tax relief and VAT against these sham expenses.

John Pointing, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation at HMRC, said: “This gang thought they could exploit rules for helping finance genuine British filmmakers and steal public money for their own gain. They were wrong.”

1 thought on “Skint Footballers Blow Whistle On UCIS Investments”

  1. We can start to see the language of this landscape change with HMRC now being more bullish about using terms like ‘stealing’ and making the much more sanguine association that the existence of these schemes is to incentivise genuine risk-positive investments. It’s not just a bureaucratic dollar chase that winds everyone up. The sooner the public at large (and media behind it – well done become comfortable with the fact that investors who are cash positive can validly balance their wealth aims with tax based incentives, the sooner we will push growth back into UK plc. The Age of Scrutiny has a job to do to expose bad/wrong/illegal advice to completely inappropriate investors who can not possibly know better. So do entrepreneurial investors to jump start the economy.


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