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Hughmans prevent prosecution from lifting the corporate veil in confiscation case

22nd February 2016

Hughmans acted for established accountant and tax advisor Ernest Wayne Pulman in a high value confiscation case before the Cardiff Crown Court, successfully limiting Mr Pulman’s liability by preventing the prosecution from lifting the corporate veil.

Mr Pulman was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud, fraudulent trading, and conspiracy to steal after he began providing accountancy services to MJL Limited toward the end of an advance fee fraud being perpetrated by the company’s officers. Mr Pulman had been given a share in the company in return for his services. He instructed Hughmans after he was sentenced to 3 and a half years imprisonment and confiscation proceedings were instigated against him.

Mr Pulman argued that he had only received payments from the company totalling approximately £20,000. The prosecution argued that Mr Pulman’s shareholding in the company meant he was liable for a proportion of the company’s assets, which included hundreds of thousands of pounds of fraudulent income. Today Hughmans successfully prevented the prosecution from applying the case of Prest v Petrodel, meaning that the corporate veil could not be lifted and Mr Pulman could not be held liable for any of the company’s assets.

The case had potentially far reaching effects for the client because unusually his assets exceeded his potential benefit from the case.

Mr Pulman was represented before the court by Lee Adams in his capacity as solicitor-advocate.

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