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Fife hoteliers facing £740,000 tax evasion case maintain not guilty pleas

The Crusoe Hotel.
The Crusoe Hotel.

A Fife couple accused of tax fraud amounting to more than £740,000 have maintained their innocence at their latest court hearing.

Andrew Dykes, 63, and his wife Lesley, 66, are charged with being knowingly concerned in the evasion of £740,156.54 in VAT during a five year period from August 2011 to July 2016 at the Crusoe Hotel in Lower Largo, Dunnikier House Hotel in Kirkcaldy and at an address in Mount Frost Place, Markinch.

Mr and Mrs Dykes are facing a single joint charge of contravening the 1994 Value Added Tax Act in that they submitted returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with false information and failed to submit required VAT returns.

Solicitors acting for the pair, who were excused absence for the latest hearing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, said on Tuesday their clients are both adhering to not guilty pleas.

A further court appearance has been scheduled for November 10 for further talks between the defence agents and prosecutors.

Defence solicitor David Allan said his client Mr Dykes had kept in close contact with his firm and said discussions with the Crown are ongoing with a view to potentially resolving the case.

He suggested there were “reasonable prospects” of that happening, but the court was asked to fix another hearing next month.

Mrs Dykes’ solicitor was of the same opinion, and fiscal Ronnie Hay, acting for the Crown, had no opposition.

Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist continued Mr and Mrs Dykes’ bail in the meantime.

A previous hearing heard how HM Revenue and Customs officials were being drafted in to assist the case, which was raised after tax inspectors raided the iconic Crusoe Hotel near Lower Largo Harbour back in 2016.

The hotel was named after Robinson Crusoe in recognition of Largo buccaneer Alexander Selkirk, who was marooned in the early 1700s and became the inspiration of Daniel Defoe’s famous novel.

Dunnikier House Hotel is under new ownership, while the Crusoe Hotel was put on the market last month for £550,000 after being formally placed in administration.

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