Court documents have revealed that athletes, bankers, and celebrities, including composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber, are among 500 investors suing Ingenious Media for operating a tax avoidance scheme.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the investors are claiming they were misled by Ingenious Media to invest in the film industry in what were later branded tax avoidance schemes by the UK Government.
The court documents reveal the claimants include famous people, as well as dozens of traders and managers from Goldman Sachs, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC Holdings, Credit Suisse Group and other banks.
Further, the investors allege in the documents that Ingenious Media “made representations of fact which were false and which they had no reasonable grounds for believing were true” while promoting the plans.
These false representations induced the claimants into joining the plans and losing money, the investors said.
Ingenious has denied the plans were set up to avoid tax and is currently in an ongoing legal battle with HM Revenue & Customs over the issue.
Ingenious chairman Patrick McKenna, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, said through a spokesperson that the claims are “entirely without merit and will be vigorously defended”.
Claimant number rising
David Pickstone, a lawyer at Stewarts Law who represents the claimants, said to Bloomberg that while the number of claimants is rising, it is still only about a quarter of the people who invested in the plans.
The firm expects to recover about £200m ($255m, €224m) in total.
The 500 claimants include two other groups bringing similar claims by law firms Peters & Peters and Mischon de Reya.
International Adviser contacted Peters & Peters about the matter, but they had “no further comment to make”.