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DWF secure dismissal of £1.5bn claims bought by Danish Tax Authority

27 April 2021
DWF, the global provider of integrated legal and business services, has successfully secured the dismissal of the entirety of SKAT's £1.5bn claim against 114 Defendants in the Commercial Court in London, on grounds that they infringed the Revenue Rule.   
SKAT, the Danish Tax authority, commenced proceedings in June 2018, seeking the recovery of in excess of £1.5billion, which it alleges represent the proceeds of unlawful and fraudulent withholding tax applications submitted following dividend arbitrage trading between 2012 and 2015. All the Defendants have denied SKAT’s allegations of dishonesty or any other wrongdoing in their entirety.  

Following a four day legal argument in March 2021, in his Judgment handed down today (27 April 2021) Mr Justice Andrew Baker agreed that the claims were an attempt by SKAT to enforce Danish Revenue Law overseas, in a way that is not admissible in the English Courts, and accordingly dismissed all of SKAT's claims.

Today’s Judgment supports the Defendants’ position that SKAT’s allegations of fraud and dishonesty made against experienced professionals of good standing in the Commercial Court (and made regularly in the press) are not justified. Instead, the dispute should properly be characterised as a tax dispute – between SKAT and the investment funds which made the WHT applications – which concerns the proper interpretation of Danish tax law.

The DWF team, led by partner Richard Twomey and director Joshua Fineman, ran the defence of the claim on behalf of three of the Defendants, alongside other members of the litigation group and Mindcrest to manage the substantial disclosure aspects of the proceedings.  For the Revenue Rule aspects of the matter, DWF instructed Alison MacDonald QC and Luke Tattersall of Essex Court Chambers and Tom De Vecchi and Sophia Dzwig of 3 Verulam Buildings.    

Commenting on the judgement, Richard Twomey, said, "Our clients have always maintained that their actions were entirely lawful, and I am pleased that the English Courts have seen these proceedings for what they were – an impermissible attempt by the Danish State to assert disputed claims for payment of tax in a foreign jurisdiction of its choosing."  

Joshua Fineman, added, "It has been a longstanding principle that the English Courts won't enforce the revenue laws of another jurisdiction, and this judgment cements and adds welcome clarity to that proposition."

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