Regular readers of Zelo Street may recall that, during Charles Saatchi’s ultimately futile PR battle against his former wife, Domestic Goddess (tm) Nigella Lawson, he engaged the services of one Richard Hillgrove, aka The Twat In The Hat, whose vicious attempts to smear Ms Lawson were exposed by the People, and in any case came to nothing. Hillgrove has been busy of late.
Twat Pictured Wearing Hat
Sadly for Dicky Boy, however – and this is a significantly sized however – he has not been engaged in paid consultancy, but arranging his own defence as HM Revenue and Customs have prosecuted him for the evasion of significant amounts of Income Tax and VAT. As I pointed out last month, these came to well over £90,000. And that he had to conduct his own defence did not auger well.
So how did The Twat In The Hat fare at Bristol Crown Court? Sadly for him, not at all well: as the Western Gazette has observed, “A public relations adviser from Somerton who allegedly failed to pay almost £100,000 in tax after spending the money on ‘himself, his family and his business’, has been convicted by a jury”. And Accounting Web, which has followed proceedings, was unimpressed.
“While Hillgrove attracted attention with his celebrity connections and PR-driven defence strategy, his case is a cautionary tale for accountants about the risks they run when acting for headstrong, ethically dubious characters ... For all his efforts to spin the facts of his case in his favour, Hillgrove was unable to convince the jury that HMRC had influenced the contents of this document” [my emphasis].
Hillgrove’s excuse for his failure to pay and his spending habit? “Hillgrove admitted in court that his spending was out of control, but said it was necessary to sustain a lifestyle that put him on an equal footing to his celebrity clients and contacts. Dragons’ Den entrepreneur James Caan and Sting were mentioned in the course of his three-week trial”. Pass the sick bucket.
The “ethically dubious” part was on full view as Hillgrove, who is to be sentenced very soon, claimed he would go to the Court of Appeal (though who would be paying was not told) and tried to blame HMRC for the whole business: “The Prosecution have entered a criminal court to execute what is essentially a financial matter and a matter for the Civil Court to have decided” he bleated.
Then he dug himself in deeper: “HMRC Corruption will not prevail ... I was only ever delaying filing whilst I was servicing a different tax debt in a different legal entity. There was never any effort by me to never file. I always intended to pay my taxes”. And he styles himself “Dragons’ Den PR Guru” because he once worked for James Caan. What a deluded, dishonest, preposterous shitbag he is.
Yes, there goes discredited spinner Richard Hillgrove. On his way ... out.