UK Government

HM Revenue & Customs: Crime lords get extra 20 years jail

Press Release   •   Sep 17, 2010 10:42 BST

Two men who failed to pay a record £184.6 million in the largest ever confiscation order secured by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), yesterday received extended jail terms of ten years each.

Gang members Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmad, both currently serving prison sentences of seven years, received the additional jail terms of ten years for failing to abide by the court order issued in July 2010. The order required them to re-pay crime profits of £92.3 million each by the beginning of this month. 

They were part of a 21-strong criminal gang who bought luxury houses in London, high performance cars, and built blocks of flats in Dubai after stealing £37.5 million in a ‘missing trader’ VAT tax fraud.

Richard Meadows, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“This will send the strongest message yet to criminals that they cannot hide, even in prison, from our actions to reclaim their criminal profits. We are determined that this money will be restored to the nation’s finances in what is the largest confiscation order ever secured in the UK. Their prison sentences now total 34 years and they will still have to re-pay the outstanding confiscation order.

Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmad’s £184.6 million debt will be realised through the assets restrained by HMRC including:

·         A luxury flat in Knightsbridge worth £4.5 million
·         A house in Harrow worth £2 million
·         A house in Buckinghamshire worth £1.5 million
·         A riverside flat in Battersea worth £500,000
·         Two apartment tower blocks in Dubai worth £80 million
·         High performance motorcars including a Ferrari 360 Modena convertible and a Mercedes 500CL.

They also gave ‘tainted gifts’ to their families including top of the range designer clothing, a Range Rover and cash totalling around £1 million.

Background

Investigations began in April 2002 into the ‘missing trader’ fraud, involving the dishonest manipulation of the VAT system through the import and export of computer processing units (CPUs). The gang used highly complex chains of VAT registered companies both here and abroad to steal £37.5 million.

The final defendant of the 21 strong crime gang was sentenced in June 2010 and ended one of the most complex investigations undertaken by HMRC which included seven trials and retrials. In total the gang were jailed for 74 years.

The conspiracy involved the import of CPUs mainly from Ireland VAT free. The goods would then be sold on more cheaply, but with VAT added, through a chain of companies each involved in the plot and sham invoices would be issued. Once the goods had been sold on a number of times they would be exported back to the EU. The exporter would then claim a VAT credit from HMRC for the VAT paid on the purchase of the goods. 

The gang would divide the dishonest profits of the fraud and launder them through various bank accounts both in the UK and abroad. The account holders would then withdraw the bulk of the cash and were paid a commission for their dishonest service. Some of the money is believed to have been invested in a third a tonne of gold bullion, substantial property in Dubai and a luxury flat near Harrods.

Notes to editors

 

1. Photographs of the defendants and assets restrained are available on request. A copy of the news release previously issued, which includes all 21 defendants, can be viewed at: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=414272&SubjectId=9

2. Details of the defendants confiscation order default hearing on,16 September 2010, at Northampton District Magistrates Court, along with sentencing on 30 March 2007 and confiscation orders on 5 July 2010, at Northampton Crown Court, include:

· Syed Mubarak Ahmed (DOB 25.09.72) of HM Prison Service and formerly of Round Coppice, Iver Heath Buckinghamshire and of Beaulieu Close, Datchet, Slough, Berkshire.

Sentencing - seven years in prison. He was disqualified from being a company director for 12 years.

Confiscation Order - £92.3 million, to be paid within two months or face an additional ten years in jail.

Default Sentence – an additional ten years in prison

· Shakeel Ahmad (DOB 07.01.72) of HM Prison Service and formerly of 10 Astons Northwood, Middlesex,

Sentencing - seven years in prison. He was disqualified from being a company director for 12 years.

Confiscation Order - £92.3 million, to be paid within two months or face an additional ten years in jail.

Default Sentence – an additional ten years in prison

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

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