Payments provider Wise comes under pressure to beef up its board

Payments provider Wise comes under pressure to beef up its board after founder’s tax dispute










Wise is under pressure to beef up its board after its founder and chief executive became embroiled in a tax dispute. 

The payments provider, which allows customers to transfer money to other countries without incurring hefty fees, saw boss Kristo Kaarmann branded ‘a deliberate tax defaulter’ by HMRC this week. 

Kaarman, 41, failed to pay £720,495 of tax or duties in the year to April 2018, and was hit with a penalty of £365,651. 

Questions: Wise boss Kristo Kaarmann (pictured) was branded ‘a deliberate tax defaulter’ by HMRC this week

Critics urged Wise to appoint an independent chairman. Executive chairman is Taavet Hinrikus, an old friend of Kaarmann’s who helped him co-found the firm in 2010. 

The business was planning to promote its senior independent director David Wells, the former finance boss of Netflix, to chairman before next summer. 

Cliff Weight, of independent investor group Sharesoc, said: ‘It’s the law in this country to pay your taxes, and anyone who doesn’t follow that should not be the director of a business.’ 

A spokesman for Kaarmann said: ‘Kristo was late submitting his tax returns for the 2017-18 tax year.’ 

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