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Sweet smell of failure for Manchester smuggler

Press Release   •   Aug 28, 2015 17:26 BST

A company director, who was jailed for smuggling over three tonnes of tobacco disguised as scented pot pourri through Manchester airport, has been ordered to repay £34,500 in stolen tax.

Mohammed Shazed Jameel, 32, of Burnage was ordered to repay the money following a financial investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“Jameel and his accomplices made multiple attempts to smuggle shisha tobacco products into the UK to evade excise duty and VAT. We are determined to track down tax evasion and recover stolen taxes.

“Tobacco fraud costs honest taxpayers more than £2.1 billion a year and seriously damages local, honest businesses. Shopkeepers, or any business, who trade in illegal goods will be investigated and subject to civil and criminal proceedings. Anyone with information about suspicious tobacco sales or smuggling should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

HMRC traced 33 illegal freight consignments back to Jameel which added up to over three tonnes of tobacco. He was ordered to repay £34,500 within three months or face a compulsory default jail sentence of an additional two years.

Two other men convicted with Jameel received confiscation orders for their involvement earlier in July.

Notes for editors

1.Mohammed Shazed Jameel, DOB 01/04/83, of Slade Lane, Burnage, Manchester, was ordered to repay £34,500 within three months or serve two years in jail on 27 August 2015. Jameel had been jailed previously for 38 months on 17 April 2015 at Manchester Crown Court for the smuggling offences. Many of the illegal freight consignments were addressed to Jameel’s clothing business address on Grosvenor Street, Manchester.

2.On 17 July 2015, Jameel’s smuggling accomplices were issued with confiscation orders:

-Usman Mohammed Butt, DOB 05/04/85, of Lytham Road, Manchester, company director, received a confiscation order for £7,212 payable within three months or he will go to jail for six months. Previously in April 2015, Butt was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid community service for his role in the crime. Butt was the registered owner of a clothing company trading as the Designer Boutique (Manchester) Limited on Sawley Road, Manchester.

-Mohammad Jamil Mansha, DOB 12/10/83, of Borrowdale Avenue, Gatley, Stockport, received a confiscation order of £6,000 payable within three months or he will go to jail for six months. Previously in April 2015, Mansha was sentenced to 200 hours unpaid community service for his role in the crime.

3.HMRC gave evidence to the court of some of the smuggling freight consignments addressed to the gang:

-31 January 2013: 355 kilos described as pot pourri / designer clothes destined for Butt’s shop.

-5 February 2013: a package 475 kilos described as pot pourri / designer clothes destined for Butt’s shop.

-11 February 2013: two consignments weighing 475 and 350 kilos described as pot pourri / designer clothes destined for Butt’s shop.

-20 February 2013: 456 kilos of shisha tobacco described as ‘pot pourri kitchen and bathroom fragrance’ on importation paperwork seized at Manchester airport destined for Jameel’s business address.

-22 February 2013: 468 kilos of shisha and molasses tobacco with the same false description was also seized at the airport destined for Jameel’s business address.

-a further 18 consignments which ranged between 12 and 36 kilos logged with a freight courier in Manchester, nine were intercepted by Border Force and contained shisha tobacco despite being described as pot pourri.

4.The three men all pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty at court hearings in 2014.

5.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 criminal benefits on a confiscation order are higher than the repayment amount HMRC can recover the outstanding amount in the future.

6.Follow HMRC’s 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.