Investigation exposes wealthy businessman who lived life of luxury but paid just £35.20 income tax

A BBC investigation has exposed a wealthy businessman who rented a £14,000-a-month penthouse and lived a life of luxury but paid just £35.20 income tax.

Frank Timis spent thousands dining in London’s finest restaurants after receiving a total of £670,000 in payments during 2017.

But his personal tax return shows he paid just £35.20 in tax that year after claiming that he had hardly any income from his worldwide business empire.

In 2016 he didn’t pay a single penny at all.

Documents leaked to BBC Panorama and Africa Eye show Mr Timis was able to cheat the taxman by asking his off-shore trust to turn the payments into untaxable loans which were backdated to make them appear legitimate.

John Christiansen, from the Tax Justice Network, said it looked like Mr Timis was dodging tax: “It all points to this being a manoeuvre to cheat the tax man. And, if that is the case, because it’s been done retrospectively, there seems to be prima facie evidence that this is tax fraud and it should be investigated.”

Mr Timis’s lawyers have denied the allegations in the strongest possible terms, saying: “Mr Timis has fully complied with all of his tax obligations and at all stages has taken professional advice to ensure that he has done so.”

The full story, dubbed The $10 Billion Energy Scandal, will be aired on Panorama at 8.30 tonight.

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