Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

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David Robertson
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Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by David Robertson » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:08 pm

In a front page article on Pension Scams which are costing gullible folk £4 billion/year, we read this:
The Times wrote:Two of Britain’s best chess players sold a “pension liberation” scheme leaving members with large tax bills yet have faced no sanction
:shock: :shock: :shock: By all means speculate. But be careful too :roll:

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:29 pm

Personal finance is, unfortunately, not something taught at school (or other educational establishments) which regularly results in the type of outcome discussed here.

Nigel Short
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Nigel Short » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:31 pm

Spill the beans! Give us some names :D

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:33 pm

Gary Quillan and Simon Williams. Ouch!

Richard Bates
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Richard Bates » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:54 pm

David Robertson wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:08 pm
In a front page article on Pension Scams which are costing gullible folk £4 billion/year, we read this:
The Times wrote:Two of Britain’s best chess players sold a “pension liberation” scheme leaving members with large tax bills yet have faced no sanction
:shock: :shock: :shock: By all means speculate. But be careful too :roll:
I would suggest that including the word "fraud" in the thread header is going beyond 'being careful'? Especially given the subsequent quotation "but have faced no sanction..."

David Robertson
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by David Robertson » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:55 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:54 pm
I would suggest that including the word "fraud" in the thread header is going beyond 'being careful'? Especially given the subsequent quotation "but have faced no sanction..."
'Fraud' and 'fraudster' are terms widely used in the article; hence, here too

Then there's this (full text from the Times)

Courts and financial regulators have identified the following cases as pension “scams”. Regulators use the word to include legal attempts to persuade savers to put money into inappropriate investments and cases involving alleged fraud or deception.

The chess players

Simon Kim Williams become a chess grandmaster at 27 and quickly developed into one of Britain’s best players. Today he is ranked 25th in England, according to Fide, the world chess federation. An associate of Mr Williams, Gary Quillan, is ranked a few places below him and made headlines last year when he beat Daniil Dubov, one of Russia’s top grandmasters.

Mr Quillan and Mr Williams were involved in a more controversial sideline, however. Companies set up by the pair marketed a multimillion-pound pension liberation scheme that promised Britons early access to their pension pots. Simon Kim Williams provided loans as part of a pension liberation schemeSimon Kim Williams provided loans as part of a pension liberation scheme. It is unlawful to gain access to your pension before the age of 55. Investors in such schemes run the risk of huge tax charges from HM Revenue & Customs.

This risk did not prevent SKW Investments, a company named after Mr Williams’s initials, from promising dozens of investors that it could “loan” them a quarter of their pension if they transferred it to a property investment company called Imperium, which Mr Quillan controlled, a 2016 court case found. Sales staff at SKW told members not to mention the loan to anyone else as this would “jeopardise everything they were doing”. More than £5 million was transferred in total.

“I was in severe financial difficulty and was in desperate need of cash,” Mark Bakes, one investor who lost money, told the court. “The person who called me from SKW Investments told me there was a loophole in the law which would enable me to take the tax-free cash from my pension straightaway in the form of a loan, rather than have to wait until I reached 55.” Mr Bakes ended up with a huge tax charge, as did Richard White, a BA pilot who transferred more than £500,000 into the scheme and received a £30,000 tax bill from HMRC after taking an unauthorised rebate of £75,000 from SKW.

Last year the pensions ombudsman, examining the case of a third victim, noted that HMRC had found that Imperium investments was “a pension liberation scheme” and that “the loans from SKW were unauthorised member payments and liable for income tax”.

Neither Mr Quillan nor Mr Williams has faced any sanction. When contacted, Mr Williams told The Times that he acted in good faith. “My role as SKW Investment Ltd was to run a loan book,” he said. “I was paid a monthly retainer to act as the director of the company. I did not receive any bonuses or commissions.” He said that a tax adviser had told him that members would not face tax charges on their loans and that had he known they would, he would not have taken on the role.

Mr Quillan declined to comment. A liquidators’ report of a company involved in the scheme found that he had lent himself £440,000 which he has yet to pay back.

The court in 2016 found he had misled a pension company by covering up the loan element.

Today, in between teaching children chess and competing in competitions around the world, Mr Quillan works as a property consultant in Liverpool.
Last edited by David Robertson on Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:13 pm

The 2016 court case mentioned in the 2nd of the two Times articles I think is this one, where HMRC had prosecuted Gary Quillan and associates on a different pension matter (not involving Simon Williams), had been unsuccessful and then appealed the decision unsuccessfully. https://library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/btc/2015-btc-16
The latest pensions scam would appear not to have been to court, although presumably further action in the future is still quite possible. The 2015/2016 court case was for offences alleged to have occurred between 2006 and 2009.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:21 pm

Mr Staunton has some of the story, can anybody provide the rest?
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David Robertson
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by David Robertson » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:21 pm
Mr Staunton has some of the story, can anybody provide the rest?
I posted the full text (see upthread)

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JustinHorton
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:28 pm

Ah got it now thanks.

Am slightly confused - am I misteading Matt's link? I understood it to say that Quillan was acquitted in 2016, but the Times says
The court in 2016 found he had misled a pension company by covering up the loan element
which is a curious way to report the court's judgement on that light
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:33 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:21 pm
Mr Staunton has some of the story, can anybody provide the rest?
It was all taking place some years ago, as you find out with a Google of some of the Company names involved, as some previous posters may have done.

Under UK pensions law, you aren't allowed to access Pensions savings until the age of 55. That doesn't stop various schemes of dubious legality being used to attempt this, one of which being the scheme published in "The Times". HMRC usually attempt to challenge such schemes and indeed did so in this case, thereby leading to tax charges on those who took advantage.

Had you spotted that one of Gary Quillan's companies had been the sponsor for the British Championship in recent years?

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:34 pm

Fairly damaging stuff in terms of reputation. Simon Williams 'Happy Go Lucky/Ginger GM' You Tube persona may take a hit in terms of fan base I'd think. Particularly as this story is not being limited to the Times Online, but would appear to be front page of the print edition, with a story including a picture him.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:40 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:28 pm
Am slightly confused - am I misteading Matt's link? I understood it to say that Quillan was acquitted in 2016, but the Times says
I think there were two cases. Matt's link relates to attempting to collect the tax relief available on pension contributions without actually making any. There's another one that comes up which relates to the attempt to release money from pension funds by way of loans. That didn't directly involve Gary as a defendant, although he is named.

https://library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/btc/2016-tc-05217

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JustinHorton
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:47 pm

Thanks for that: it's a very interesting link indeed, if you search for Quillan.
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Matt Bridgeman
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Re: Chess and Pension Fraud - allegation

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:51 pm

I'd hazard a guess Williams might be rethinking his British Championship entry ...or maybe it will take his mind of it all?!

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