A group of activists crashed an after-dinner speech of Britain’s former top tax man Dave Hartnett, presenting him with a “golden handshake” for cutting sweetheart tax deals with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs. Protesters from the group WeAreTheIntruders interrupted Hartnett ‘s speech—the last before his retirement—wearing black tie dress and posing as representatives of the two companies with trophies in tow.
A video of the affair has gone viral on YouTube.
Dinner guests failed to recognise the ruse until the 2:20-mark and even gave Hartnett a round of applause. They soon soured when learning of the trespassers real intention, and one guest told the protesters, “You will depart immediately, before we set the dogs on you.”
Hartnett, the former head of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), was accused by the Public Accounts Committee in Britain of failing to collect £10m interest on a tax bill from Goldman Sachs, and he’s been accused of letting Vodafone off £6bn of tax.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that money is available to fund the UK’s public services. The committee had “serious concerns” with how HMRC handled large tax settlements and said the department lacked a “culture of accountability” last December.
Protester Steven Reid told the Financial Times the primary reason for the video was to show the disconnect between big business and the ordinary taxpayer. He said:
“The response served to ram home that these people are really working on a totally different plane.”
While they were escorted out of the dinner hall, Reid and his fellow activists sang: “For he’s a jolly good fellow…that serves at Goldman Sachs.”
Check out the video below:
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