Lewis Hamilton Avoided Taxes On £17M Jet, Paradise Papers Leak Claims
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, "one of the world's richest sportspeople, avoided paying European taxes on his private jet using an Isle of Man scheme" that will be investigated by U.K. tax authority HMRC, according to Juliette Garside of the London GUARDIAN. Accounting firm Ernst & Young and Appleby, the law firm at the center of the Paradise Papers leak, "helped Hamilton and dozens of other clients set up seemingly artificial leasing businesses through which they rented their own jets from themselves." Two law professors who reviewed the scheme described it as potentially "abusive," saying that it does not "appear to follow European rules." University of Leeds Tax Law Chair Rita de la Feria, said, "No one seems to be enforcing the laws that exist." Hamilton said that he "instructed a senior lawyer to check his arrangements and was told they were lawful." He added that his practice was to "rely on professional advice," and he was "not concerned with day-to-day management of his business." Legitimate tax avoidance schemes "are not illegal." There is "no suggestion Hamilton was directly involved" in creating the scheme used for his jet. He sought professional advice and followed it. What experts say, however, is that the scheme created "appears to be so artificial that it is open to challenge" (GUARDIAN, 11/6).