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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 16:58 GMT
Millionaire cleared of tax fraud
Aberdeen Sheriff Court
The wealthy oil executive was found not guilty of cheating
Ian Suttie, one of Scotland's richest men, has been cleared of tax fraud after a three-day trial.

The multi-millionaire was found not guilty of all four charges he faced at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

He had earned interest of just under 180,000 on an account and should have paid more than 21,000 in tax.

But the 60-year-old tycoon told the trial he did not know the current account paid interest, so did not check his bank statements.

Mr Suttie said he was "astounded and stunned" when he discovered interest was owed and described allegations that he cheated the Inland Revenue on purpose as "impossible".

The former chartered accountant told the court: "I had nothing to hide. It would be absolutely silly not to declare."

It was probably the worst moment of our married life
Dorothy Suttie

The sheriff heard that Mr Suttie's wife of 34 years, Dorothy, sorted the mail and filed away bank statements at home in Aberdeen.

She said of the moment when the problem emerged: "Well, he went berserk. It was probably the worst moment of our married life.

"I had not seen him react like that before. He was furious that he did not know there was interest. Neither did I."

Bank records and income tax were "taken out of my hands", she said.

Mr Suttie, who was reported to be worth 75m and was named Scotland's 44th richest man, said he had lost count of his many bank accounts.

Sheriff Douglas Cusine said: "In my opinion to suggest that because an account is active and operated by a successful businessman means he must have scrutinised his bank account for me is a bridge too far.

'A nuisance'

"It may have not been particularly responsible, or even irresponsible, for Mr Suttie not to check his bank accounts.

"But irresponsibility does not come up to the standard of knowledge and it's knowledge that's required for a conviction."

Sheriff Cusine was told the father-of-three thought the probe was "more or less a nuisance".

The court heard he wondered why an inquiry had been launched as there was so much else going on with his business affairs.

Mr Suttie, who owned Aberdeen textile firm Richards which went into liquidation last year with the loss of 196 jobs, was also originally alleged to have attempted to defeat the ends of justice.

However, the sheriff accepted a defence motion that there was no case to answer on the charge.

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21 Jul 05 |  Scotland
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18 Nov 04 |  Scotland

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