“TAX officials are under fire after it emerged they refused to investigate a company for money laundering – saying the firm was a massive Tory donor.
HMRC was asked by French authorities to raid the offices of telecoms firm Lycamobile, but turned down the request.
BuzzFeed revealed that in an email to the French officials, a senior civil servant said: “It is of note that they are the biggest corporate donor to the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Theresa May and donated 1.25m Euros to the Prince Charles Trust in 2012.”
HMRC has admitted the reference to Lycamobile’s political links was a mistake – but insisted that was not the reason they refused to probe the firm.
Furious MPs accused the tax authorities of “grubby corruption” and demanded an explanation from Philip Hammond.
Prosecutors in France launched an investigation into claims that Lycamobile uses its phone business to launder money two years ago.
They asked HMRC to help out by raiding the company’s offices in London, but the British officials refused in an email sent in March last year.
The email included the information about the links between Lycamobile and the Tories – who have now stopped accepting donations from the company.
Asked about the letter, HMRC initially denied it was authentic, saying: “This is the United Kingdom for God’s sake, not some third world banana republic where the organs of state are in hock to some sort of kleptocracy.”
But they later admitted it was real and said it was “regrettable” that the line was included.
A spokesman told The Sun today: “HMRC always investigates suspected rule breaking professionally and objectively and is never influenced by political considerations.”
HMRC added that the reason the request to raid Lycamobile was refused was that French officials didn’t provide enough information.
Labour MP Wes Streeting blasted the revelations today, saying: “This sort of grubby corruption cannot be tolerated.”