Press release -
Extradited cigarette smuggler jailed
A lorry driver, who fled the UK after he was caught smuggling 1.8 million cigarettes into Dover, is now behind bars for two years after an investigation and extradition led by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Mariusz Chorazy, 54, was arrested by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks on 30 August 2013 after eight pallets of non-duty paid ‘MG’ brand cigarettes were found hidden within legitimate freight from Switzerland. £404,000 in excise duty was evaded.
The HMRC investigation revealed that the lorry had taken a 130 kilometre detour through Belgium and the Netherlands, where the cigarettes were loaded, on the way to Dunkerque ferry port.
Chorazy failed to answer bail in November 2013 and it was established he had left the UK. He was apprehended by Polish authorities in June 2017, who worked closely with HMRC to return Chorazy to the UK on 10 August 2017. He was immediately charged with evading excise duty and remanded in custody at Margate Magistrates Court.
Tim Clarke, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“We will continue to ensure absconders, such as Chorazy, face justice. Time and distance do not stand in the way of our criminal investigators, and close cooperation with our international partners means nobody is beyond our reach.
“Anyone with information about tobacco smuggling, which robs the UK of around £2.4 billion a year, or knowledge of the location of wanted fugitives, should call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
On 7 September 2017, four years after committing the crime, Chorazy pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court. He was jailed today (4 October) at the same court for two years.
Upon sentencing Chorazy, Her Honour Judge Adele Williams, said:
“This is a very serious matter causing significant loss of revenue to the United Kingdom.”
Her Honour also said that Chorazy should be deported upon release from prison.
Chorazy is the eighth fugitive to be returned to the UK to face tax justice this year. The others include Lieb Berger, Antonio De Sousa, Mbarak Gowie, Wayne Hardy, and Geoffrey Johnson.
Notes for Editors
1. Mariusz Karol CHORAZY,DOB 24/03/1963, a lorry driver of Kolobrzeg, Poland.He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of excise duty, contrary to section 170(2)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
2. In total 1,799,800 ‘MG’ brand king-size filter cigarettes were smuggled, evading £404,172 in excise duty.
3. His photograph is available from HMRC’s Flickr channelwww.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk
4. Anyone with information about people suspected of smuggling, selling or storing illegal tobacco should contact our hotline on 0800 788 887 or report it online at: https://www.gov.uk/report-tobacco-or-alcohol-tax-evasion
5. Follow HMRC Press Office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice
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.