We are particularly uneasy about the blanket confidentiality applied to cases raising governance concerns or where mistakes were made in reaching settlements, because we are unable to scrutinise what went wrong in these cases. Details of some of these cases only came to our attention because they appeared in the media. It is deplorable that we received more information from the media and from a whistleblower than from the Department itself.
With reference to the Vodafone case the only original media source was Private Eye. Everyone else (yes, Ritchie and I included) is a secondary source, trying to parse what the hell they meant.
And what they did do was simply ignore the impact of the Cadbury case on CFC laws. Vodafone provided for UK tax up to the decision in Cadbury. Cadbury made it quite clear that the then HMRC interpretation of CFC was not valid. Thus provisioning stopped.
The numbers the PAC are using, bandying about £6 billion, £ 8 billion, stem from this basic mistake of believing Private Eye. Not realising that the law was changed by that court decision. I have had confirmation directly from a member of the PAC on this point.