The financial backers of a criminal enterprise that attempted to smuggle 20 million cigarettes into the UK by describing them as babies’ toys have been ordered to repay £2.7 million or face further jail terms.
Robert Doran, who owns land worth several million pounds next to the River Thames in London, was ordered to repay £1,456,325, or he will serve a further four years and six months in prison. Patrick Gray, who owns a half share in two properties in Barbados, must pay £1,244,982 or serve another four years in jail. The pair were caught after forensic evidence linked them to the multi-million pound cigarette smuggling operation.
Dave Cowie, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said:
“This confiscation order sends a clear warning. Our work does not end when we successfully prosecute for tax fraud. We will pursue the illicit proceeds of crime. “
Robert Doran and Patrick Gray supplied the finance for the smuggling operation and were also involved in the purchase, packaging and shipment of the cigarettes. The crime was discovered after documents were examined from two freight containers that arrived at the Port of Felixstowe. The contents were described as 1,020 cartons of baby toys; but instead they were crammed with over 20 million cigarettes. The total duty evaded was estimated as £3.8 million.
On 12 April 2010, Doran was arrested as he entered the UK at Heathrow Airport. Gray was arrested on the 8 June 2010 at his previous home address in Enfield. They were charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade excise duty and sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on 24 February 2012.
Notes for editors
1. Robert Doran, (24/12/1964), of Apt 3102, La Reve Building, Dubai Marina, UAE, was jailed for 4½ years. He was ordered to pay £1,456,325 within six months or serve a further four years and six months in prison.
2. Patrick Gray, (19/07/1959), address 143b Bengeo Street, Hertford, SG14 3EY, was jailed for 4½ years. He was ordered to pay £1,244,982 within six months or serve a further four years in prison.
3. The confiscation orders were made on 29 July 2013 by Ipswich Crown Court.
4. Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk
5. Photos are available on HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.
HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.