Robbie Williams ‘BARRED from receiving OBE over use of dodgy tax scheme’

ROBBIE Williams was reportedly barred from receiving an honour because of his use of a dodgy tax scheme, it was revealed last night.

He was due to get a gong in the 2019 New Year’s honours list because of his charity work and pop success.

But honours committee members withdrew their support for an OBE for the star after the taxman caught wind of the award, the Daily Mail reported.

It’s believed that Williams, 45, is the first star known to have been struck by a new “honour blacklist”.

He was said to have paid £2million into a controversial film investment scheme that involved around 140 other celebrities.

Clients were apparently able to claim tax relief against almost the entire sum they put into the Ingenious Media firm.

Ingenious Media disputes claims by HMRC that its scheme amounts to tax avoidance and is involved in a complex court battle.

But a tribunal previously found that while Ingenious traded legitimately its investors were not entitled to the tax reliefs promised.

Rich celebs who’ve dabbled in questionable financial activity are barred from royal honours under the rules.

A senior HMRC civil servant allegedly told the honours committee that Williams himself was to blame for the snub.

The Angels singer challenged tax officials over his financial affairs – which allegedly also contributed to the decision to scrap his OBE.

An insider told the Mail: “They did not like the fact that he had contested the matter.

“It came up in discussions about whether to give him an award.”

Robbie’s former Take That bandmate Gary Barlow was also hit by similar tax controversy – but he kept his OBE.

A grovelling Barlow was forced to pay back millions to the taxman after taking part in what was judged to be a tax shelter scheme.

The 48-year-old said at the time it was the “stupidest thing I have ever done”.

He and fellow Take That stars Howard Donald, 51, and Mark Owen, 47, had to repay a total of £20million.

The all insisted they believed their investments were legitimate and had paid their dues.

Williams has raised more than £20m for Unicef UK through his Soccer Aid celeb football matches.

He is also an ambassador for Unicef and last week became co-owner for the MLA music and performing arts university in Liverpool.

Other celebs vetoed by the taxman include David Beckham – who was reportedly furious about his knighthood snub in 2017.

Wayne Rooney has also apparently fallen foul of the blacklist over an alleged £3.5million tax bill.

They are among around 150 celebrities and public figures who were up for awards but have been shunned by HMRC.

The department has introduced a “traffic lights” system to grade nominees.

Up to 43 people recommended for an honour have been flagged as ‘red’ or ‘high risk’ since 2013, HMRC revealed.

A Cabinet Office spokesman declined to comment on Williams’ case last night.

They said: “Robust checks are carried out on the probity of everyone who is nominated for an honour.”

HMRC declined to comment,