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Payback time for criminals in one of the UK’s biggest tax frauds

Press release   •   Dec 16, 2019 07:35 GMT

Five tax fraudsters who were part of a crime group involved in one of the UK’s biggest tax frauds have been ordered to repay £20 million, or face more time behind bars and still owe the money.

Michael Richards, 57 and Jonathan Anwyl, 46, both of East Sussex, Dubai-based Robert Gold, 51, Rodney Whiston-Dew, 68, of Greenwich, London and Evdoros Chrysanthos Demetriou, 80, from Oxford, were all jailed for more than 43 years. An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found the group had devised a fake eco-investment scheme as a tax break for wealthy investors.

At the Old Bailey on 14 October and Southwark Crown Court on 13 December 2019, they were ordered to pay a combined total of £20 million or serve a further 39 years in prison.

If further assets are identified in the future for any of the convicted men, they could also be confiscated.

Martin Lynagh, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“This was a carefully-planned and complex attack on the tax system and now the men have to pay up or spend even more time in prison, and still owe the money.

“Our actions don’t stop once someone is convicted, we will look to reclaim the stolen money, cash that should be funding vital public services in the UK. If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

The five men were sentenced in November 2017, to a total of 43-and-a-half years in jail, after HMRC investigators found they lured wealthy individuals to invest in Carbon Emission Reduction Certificates, which help countries hit environmental emissions targets set by the United Nations. But in reality, the money was diverted to purchase properties in the UK and Dubai, none of which was declared to HMRC. The £107.9 million fraud was one of the UK’s biggest tax crimes

Gold may need to sell a property in Dubai to settle his £2.6 million bill, and Anwyl, of Ringmer, East Sussex, cashed in his pension fund to help pay off his £250,000 order. Anwyl has paid his order and Gold has until late January 2020 to pay up or face an extra jail term.

Richards and Whiston-Dew have properties in West Sussex and South-West London which they may need to sell to pay off their respective £9.9 million and £3 million orders.

Another member of the crime group, Malcolm Gold, 75, previously of Hertfordshire was sentenced to 20 months in prison in January 2017. He was subject to a confiscation order on 5 October 2017 for £4,711, which was the amount of assets he had available at the time. The order was paid on 27 October 2017.

Notes to Editors

1. Details of the defendants:

  • Michael Richards (DOB 04/01/1962) of Milton Street, Alfriston, East Sussex, is serving 11 years in prison and on 13 December was given three months to pay up £9,999,999 or face a further 10 years in jail
  • Robert Gold (DOB 28/01/1968) of Arabian Ranches, Dubai, who is serving 11 years in prison, was given three months on 14 October 2019 to pay back £2,643,677.25, or face a further nine years in jail and still owe the money.
  • Rodney Whiston-Dew (DOB 28/06/1951) of New Capital Quay, Greenwich, south east London, is serving a 10-year sentence and was given three months on 13 December 2019 to pay up £3,035,192.97 or face a further nine years in jail.
  • Evdoros Chrysanthos Demetriou (DOB 14/06/1939) of Woodstock Road, Oxford, is serving a six-year sentence and on 13 December 2019 was given 3 months to pay up £4,682,613 or face a further 9 years in jail.
  • Jonathon Anwyl (DOB 07/10/1973) of Yeomans, Ringmer, East Sussex, who is serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence, was given three months to pay up £253,934.47 on 14 October 2019 or face another two years in jail. Anwyl has now paid the order.

2. Confiscation orders were granted at the Old Bailey on 14 October 2019 for Anwyl and Gold, and for Richards, Whiston-Dew and Demetriou at Southwark Crown Court on 13 December 2019.

3. There is no appeal against default jail sentences issued in confiscation orders and the order for repayment remains in place after the default sentence is served by the fraudster. If the assets held by the convicted criminal at the time of the order are less than the benefit derived from the fraud, then any future assets can be confiscated up to the value of the benefit of the fraud.

4. Details of the original sentences and fraud can found here

5. Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business.

6. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice.

7. 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.

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