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Illicit alcohol duo jailed

Press Release   •   Jun 17, 2013 14:26 BST

Two men from Derbyshire have been jailed for trading in illicit alcohol and evading around £1 million in duty and VAT, after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The duty free alcohol should have been exported to France and Belgium but never left the UK. Instead Tarsem Mandair (39) and Rickpal Bhathal, (34) diverted the goods to storage units in Derby to sell on at a cut price. The men used their illicit profit to buy high performance cars, including a BMW series 3 owned by Bhathal and an Audi Q7 owned by Mandair.

Gary Lampon, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“This was a major operation which would have continued to deprive the public and the economy of vital funds had we not stopped it. The pair built up a massive enterprise which infiltrated the retail sector in Derbyshire. It funded lifestyles which would otherwise have been well beyond their means and they are now paying the price for their crime with the loss of liberty.”

Thousands of litres of Glen’s and Smirnoff vodka, wine and beer were seized by HMRC officers in January and September 2011 from three storage units in Derby, rented by the gang using false company names. Officers worked for 48 hours to remove the haul, and also found counterfeit “duty paid” labels on bottles of Glen’s and seized sheets of counterfeit labels for High Commissioner whisky. They would sell the alcohol to retailers across Derbyshire at a cut price.

Over £110,000 in cash was seized from business and residential addresses.

Notes to Editors
1. Photographs of the defendants are available from HMRC’s Flickr site www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk or on request.

2. Details of those sentenced at Derby Crown Court: Tarsem Mandair (DOB 10.09.73), of Glenshee Gardens, Chellaston, Derby, was sentenced to six months in jail on Friday 14 June 2013.

Rickpal Bhathal (DOB 20.11.78), of Montugue Way Chellaston, Derby, was sentenced to six months in jail on Friday 14 June 2013.

Both pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to deal in alcoholic drinks on which duty had not been paid, with intent to defraud under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, and possession of criminal property, namely cash, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

3. Follow HMRC on Twitter @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.