Accountant warned he will go to prison

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A BUSINESSMAN has been warned he will go to jail after being found guilty of tipping off a client about a police investigation.

The stark message to Kishor Doshi, director of Sunderland firm Otax, came after he was convicted of an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The jury of eight women and four men at Newcastle Crown Court took just 30 minutes to reach their verdict, after hearing two days of evidence.

Doshi, of Dunelm South, Sunderland, admitted he rang and told a client that his office had received a police order commanding him to hand over the man’s accounts just hours after he discovered it.

The order relates to a money laundering investigation by Northumbria Police’s Economic Crime Unit, called Operation Galapagos, into the dealings of the man who cannot be named because of a court ruling.

But the 60-year-old told the hearing at Newcastle’s Moot Hall that he did not know the document, called a Production Order and authorised by a judge, related to a criminal investigation and was supposed to be kept secret by law.

Instead, he thought it was part of an ongoing civil inquiry by Revenue and Customs officials and said in interview: “I thought he had a right to know”.

Earlier in the case, the Tanzanian-born businessman, who has been an accountant for 23 years, told the court he only read the first two paragraphs of the Production Order before he made the first in a series of phone calls between him, his client and an associate.

But prosecutor Peter Gair said an accountant of Doshi’s experience would have known a Production Order was a criminal investigation led by police.

Mr Recorder Kershaw adjourned sentencing until next month while reports are prepared.

But he warned Doshi: “I am going to grant you unconditional bail in the mean time, but you must brace yourself for an immediate custodial sentence.”