Asos co-founder sues BDO over wrong advice on share sale

A share sale landed Asos co-founder Quentin Griffiths in hot water and the retail entrepreneur is suing accountancy firm BDO as a result, claiming that it cost him millions of pounds.


An unexpected tax bill has led Asos's co-founder to sue his advisers


Griffiths launched the e-tailer with Nick Robertson in 2000 and left in 2005 to focus on start-ups. In 2013, he sought advice from BDO as he wanted to sell shares in the company, as well as in another e-tailer he’d founded (Achica) and to minimise his tax liabilities.

The Times reported that he’s now suing because he said BDO was “negligent” and “made a basic and fundamental error” in its advice about tax avoidance when he told BDO partner Andrew Lines he planned to move offshore. BDO was his accountant and tax adviser from 2009 until 2017. 

Griffiths said in court papers that Lines advised him he could spend as long as 90 days a year in Britain without having to pay UK tax, rather than the 45 days that’s the correct figure.

He’s suing for the more than £4.5 million that this cost him in tax, fines and other expenses and also claims “no step was taken” by BDO to ensure he was aware of small print that limited his ability to sue over bad advice.

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