Sports Direct worked with big four accountancy firm Deloitte on a VAT scheme that has led to litigation in several European countries.
The findings have emerged in High Court papers lodged as part of an ongoing case brought by the Financial Reporting Council against Frasers Group, formerly Sports Direct International Plc.
TaxWatch has published a report, ‘The Deloitte Disaggregation‘, setting out the case.
The scheme involved contracting out deliveries to a company set up by Mike Ashley’s brother, which had no vehicles or drivers.
Grant Thornton did not disclose this relationship in company accounts and have since quit as Sports Direct’s auditors.
A number of European countries are known to be concerned about the scheme with the potential losses to tax authorities likely to be very significant, perhaps running into the billions.
The case illustrates again how, despite claims to the contrary, leading elements of the tax industry remained in the business of designing and marketing complex tax avoidance schemes.