As UK authorities increasingly crack down on tax abuse within the film business, a London crown court on Wednesday found British director-writer-producer Richard Driscoll guilty of a £1.5M VAT fraud. According to HM Revenue & Customs (the UK’s IRS), Driscoll “falsified invoices for the costs of making films in order to reclaim VAT back that he was not entitled to and set up a number of associated companies that were used purely to commit the crime.” The films in question included Eldorado, touted as the first modern British movie shot in 3D. A comedy/horror/musical, it is said to have featured Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Jeff Fahey, Steve Guttenberg and former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy, with narration by Peter O’Toole. It was never released theatrically, but a DVD is listed for sale on Amazon in the UK, also under the title Highway To Hell. Two other films in connection with the case, Watchmen Of Hellgate and Back2Hell, were not completed, The Times reports. The claims for repayment of value added tax were based on production costs of more than £9M, but investigators said the costs were in reality less than £1M. “Bogus invoices were sent to support the false repayment claims and other invoices were genuine but had their values inflated,” HMRC said.
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