Firm fined for anti-money laundering rules breach

Woman looking at the cameraImage source, LinkedIn
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Zoe Goodchild has also been struck off from a professional body

  • Published

A company at the centre of a tax rebate scandal owes tens of thousands of pounds after being fined for not complying with money laundering regulations.

Apostle Accounting, based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, is under investigation over a tax rebate scheme that left hundreds of people out of pocket.

The firm is currently insolvent and is in the hands of liquidators.

Owner Zoe Goodchild did not comment when approached by the BBC.

Ms Goodchild has also been "excluded" by one of the professional bodies of which she is a member, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).

According to the latest liquidator's report, the ICB is listed as a creditor and is owed more than £40,000.

The body confirmed that this was a fine for a lack of compliance with the anti-money laundering rules.

The President of the ICB, Garry Carter, stressed that the penalty was not for money laundering itself.

The fine was first reported in the trade publication AccountingWEB., external

Image source, Stephen Huntley/BBC
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Four addresses linked to Apostle Accounting have been raided by police earlier this month

Hundreds of former Apostle Accounting clients have been sent repayment demands from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), in some cases running to tens of thousands of pounds.

This is because they claimed tax rebates via the company to which they were not entitled.

In previous statements, Apostle had consistently denied any wrongdoing.

According to figures compiled by one former client, at least 800 people have received letters from HMRC demanding a total of £3.3m.

Police raids

A criminal inquiry into Apostle is currently under way.

Last week, it was revealed four addresses linked to the company had been raided by the East Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) and Suffolk Police.

ERSOU said their investigation followed reports of potential fraud and were "working to establish if any offences have been committed".

In an email to former Apostle clients who had provided witness statements to the police inquiry - known as Operation Roquette - ERSOU said it had seized a "significant quantity" of material.

Apostle Accounting's liquidator, Leeds-based D F Wilson, said it was unable to comment.

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