Four KPMG Belfast partners arrested in tax investigation…

Interesting developments in Belfast this afternoon (H/T Doug)…

Disputes between the big accountancy companies and and tax authorities are common enough. But the decision by HM Revenue and Customs to visit the Belfast offices of KPMG on Wednesday and arrest four senior partners there for questioning on suspected tax evasion is a most unusual development and one which creates a serious issue for the firm and, of course, for the individuals themselves.

The HM Revenue and Customs has picked high-profile targets. The four arrested included KPMG Belfast’s chairman, Jon D’Arcy and the head of its tax practice and a high profile figure in the North’s corporation tax debate, Eamonn Donaghy. Also questioned were Paul Hollway, who heads KPMG’s corporate finance business in Ireland and a fourth senior partner, Arthur O’Brien.

The Revenue authorities visited the KPMG officers to arrest the four for questioning. KPMG said in a statement that there was no indication that the investigation related to the business of the company or its dealings with clients.

Cliff Taylor adds…

The public nature of the action generates a significant issue for KPMG, which responded quickly by placing the four on administrative leave. The question now is what happens next and how quickly it will emerge whether further action will follow yesterday’s questioning.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty