AN ACCOUNTANT has denied potentially ruining a police investigation into money laundering.
Kishor Doshi, director of Sunderland firm Otax, has admitted he rang and told a client, who can’t be named for legal reasons, that he had received a police order compelling him to hand over the man’s accounts as part of the investigation.
But, at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, the 60-year-old said he did not know the document – called a Production Order and authorised by a judge – related to a criminal investigation and should have been kept secret by law.
Mr Doshi, of Dunelm South, Barnes, is charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act, with making a disclosure likely to have prejudiced a Northumbria Police investigation.
The court heard Doshi was arrested at the office of Otax, an accountancy and taxation service, in Millfield, after he rang police to tell them he’d revealed the existence of the Production Order to his client. In interview he said: “I thought he had a right to know.”
Mr Doshi said he was told to fax the document to the man’s legal adviser.
However, in court he denied doing anything wrong, and said he only read the first two paragraphs of the Production Order before he made the phone call, on November 3, 2009.
The Tanzania-born businessman told the jury he thought the document was to do with a long-running civil case his client was involved in.
He claimed not to know its disclosure could prejudice a police investigation – an offence which carries up to five years in prison.
Prosecutor Peter Gair accused Doshi of trying to appear “an inept, ignorant, simple person” when it was clear he was none of those things.
Andrew Rutter, defending, said there was “no shred of evidence” that Operation Galapagos had been compromised and questioned if Mr Doshi had known what he’d done was illegal, why he would have telephoned police to tell them about it.
The trial continues