An £11.6 million criminal money launderer who moved to Northern Cyprus during a criminal trial has been returned to the UK.
Michael Voudouri, 46, originally from Bridge of Allan, Stirling, pleaded guilty in October 2012 to laundering over £11.6 million linked to a VAT fraud. He was due in court for sentencing in November 2012 but failed to attend and an international warrant was issued for his arrest.
Voudouri has been extradited from Northern Cyprus and arrived at Edinburgh Airport in the early hours of today. He will now appear in court for sentencing at the earliest opportunity where he will also face further criminal proceedings.
David Odd, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:
“Michael Voudouri made significant amounts of money from his criminal activities. He was involved in complex and organised money laundering over a long period and is now finally facing justice.
“With the help of the public we can reclaim criminal profits and get justice for the taxpayer. I urge anyone with information about people or businesses involved in tax fraud to contact HMRC on the Tax Evasion hotline on 0800 788 887 or online at www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm”
Notes for editors:
1. Michael George Voudouri, DOB 27 July 1967, formerly of Kenilworth Road in Bridge of Allan, pleaded guilty in October 2012 to laundering over £11.6 million.
2. Voudouri was jailed for four years in 2004 for his involvement in a tax fraud in which he claimed back VAT on false Europe-wide business transactions. A subsequent money laundering investigation was launched by HMRC. This revealed that the profit from that fraud had been deposited into bank accounts in Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland, USA, the British Virgin Islands and elsewhere in an attempt to conceal its criminal origins. The money was then transferred back into various bank accounts in the UK and invested in property and businesses in Scotland. Voudouri appeared in court in 2012, where he pleaded guilty and was released on bail. However, he then, absconded to north Cyprus, while the trial against his two co-accused continued.
3. A photograph of the accused cannot be released as the case is active under the terms of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.
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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.