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BBC 'National Treasure' caught up in Guernsey pension scheme farce

BBC 'National Treasure' caught up in Guernsey pension scheme farce

Monday 29 July 2019

BBC 'National Treasure' caught up in Guernsey pension scheme farce

A household name who has worked for the BBC and ITV and become a 'national treasure' is just one of many who have potentially lost millions after the collapse of the IXG Pension Scheme.

The scheme, which was set up in Guernsey in 2006, was designed to take advantage of relaxing tax laws and allowed people with at least £1million worth of assets to join to avoid capital gains and inheritance taxes on their money.

An attractive prospect for the rich of Britain, the scheme had many members and is suspected to have been worth at least £40million. 

Express broke the news earlier this year that the scheme has collapsed however, and the money is likely to have vanished after it all became tangled up in pension fraud.

It has since been revealed by a Times Investigation that a high profile TV star, who they described as a 'national treasure', was one of those who befell the IXG fund. This unnamed star was also joined by former Manchester United Football players and many others who lost out. 

court money

Guernsey's Public Trustee, under the remit of Economic Development, took control of the scheme after a court decision was made in 2012. 

Now, joined by others from around the country, the members of the scheme are desperately trying to get their money back, but any chance of that lies on the shoulders of Guernsey's public trustee, who took responsibility of the scheme in 2012 and has since been investigating where the money went, and trying to reclaim it. Little progress has been made since then, however.

When the scheme was launched, it was deemed lawful - and it was not the only QROPS model of its kind - but a QC who approved it also described it as 'highly provocative' and warned that it would be under constant scrutiny. 

That scrutiny did not prove to be enough, however, as the scheme started to untangle both because of fraud taking place in Lichenstein by third parties tied to it, and also because of the litigious actions of the owner of IXG. 

Westminster parliament Guernsey Downing Street uk government

Guernsey and other offshore jurisdictions have been criticised in the past by Parliament for their tax regimes. 

This all came out as part of a wider Times investigation into offshore pension schemes and pension scams. It said the multiple scams happening every year were costing British savers £4billion every 12 months. 

But just last week, Guernsey - one of a number of 'offshore' jurisdictions - had its tax regime approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which concluded the way things worked in the island was not harmful to the rest of the world. This is a stance the States of Guernsey adamantly hold on the international stage, as the island strictly follows guidelines and regulations. 

As far as the IXG scheme goes, the last Economic Development were able to say was: “This case is a complicated and ongoing piece of work.  It has and continues to involve various legal proceedings and it is important those proceedings are not prejudiced by comments made in the media. For that reason, it is not possible to comment further at this stage. It is recognised that this process can be frustrating for some individuals who have been affected by this case and their patience is appreciated.” 

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