Divisional Court judgment in judicial review proceedings concerning suspected £500 million Cum-Ex fraud


On 17 April 2024, the Divisional Court (Whipple LJ and Hilliard J) handed down judgment refusing claims for judicial review brought by MCML Ltd (previously known as ED&F Man Capital Markets Ltd) and the former head of its equity trading desk.

The claimants challenged the legality of search warrants which had been obtained and executed by HMRC following requests for mutual legal assistance (MLA) from Denmark and Germany in connection with a substantial cross-border investigation into suspected Cum-Ex fraud totalling £500 million.

Following a 3-day judicial review hearing, the Divisional Court refused the claims on all eight grounds, highlighting the scale and nature of the suspected fraud and the existence of very grave suspicions about the past conduct of the claimants.

The case raised novel and complex legal issues concerning the duty of full and frank disclosure in ex parte applications in the mutual legal assistance context.

Joanna Buckley acted for HMRC with Nicholas Chapman (Temple Garden Chambers) and Tom Rainsbury (3 Verulam Buildings).

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