A SOUTHEND accountancy firm has said it is helping tax authorities with their investigations after a former employee and subcontractor are being investigated for links to a £2.4million VAT fraud.

They worked for Chase Bureau, based in Royal Terrace, Southend, and are under investigation by the authorities for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy involving VAT rebates.

They are among a number of people, including an HMRC employee, who have been questioned by HMRC.

John Symons, director of Chase Bureau, said the employee and subcontractor were let go after the company was questioned by the authorities. He said: “There is an HMRC inquiry.

“I have great faith in the authorities. Nobody else here was involved.”

The Sunday Times reported the fraud involves a female employee at HMRC who made a series of suspect VAT rebate payments to individuals or their companies.

It said that the operation could have cost the taxpayer as much as £2.4million, involved more than 20 companies.

A number of raids are said to have been carried out on January 22 in connection with the investigation.

An HMRC spokesman said: “For legal reasons HMRC cannot comment on individual cases.”