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Press release -

Working at the car wash didn't pay for fraudster caught in HMRC blitz

A car wash owner who failed to pay £100,000 duty on more than 400,000 cigarettes has been sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.

Pshtewan Sharef Ibrahim, 42, from Warrington, kept the illicit cigarettes at self-storage units in his hometown. The cigarettes were sniffed out by specially trained detector dogs during a visit to the premises by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, on 30 November 2016.

When questioned by officers, Ibrahim said he was paid £200 to rent the two storage units on behalf of someone else and that he used them to store his car wash equipment.

He pleaded guilty on 25 April 2018 at Liverpool Crown Court to two counts of fraudulently evading excise duty. He was sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for two years, at the same court on, 9 May 2018.

Paul Maybury, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Ibrahim thought his criminal scheme would go unnoticed, but he was wrong.

“Selling illicit tobacco threatens the livelihoods of hard working legitimate businesses by stealing their trade. I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to report it online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Notes for Editors

  • Pshtewan Sharef Ibrahim, DOB: 01/01/1976, of Poplars Avenue, Warrington, and owner of Hand Carwash in Warrington, pleaded guilty to two counts of the fraudulent evasion of excise duty under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979
  • The total value of the duty evaded was £106,482.74.
  • He was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 9 May 2018 to ten months in prison, suspended for two years. He was ordered to complete 20 hours unpaid work and abide by a 7am and 7pm curfew for three months
  • He stored the 406,080 non UK-duty paid cigarettes (a mixture of Marlboro, Mayfair, Royal and NZ Gold Super Slim) at Apex Self-Storage, Owen Street, Warrington and at Smart Storage, Lythgoes Lane, Warrington,
  • Anyone with information about people or businesses involved in smuggling, sale or storage of illicit tobacco can report it online at https://www.gov.uk/report-an-unregistered-trader-or-business or contact our HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.
  • Follow HMRC’s press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice.

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Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

Lucy Collins

Press Officer for the South East of England

Tel: 03000 525872 / 07900 394 601

Email: lucy.collins@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Out of hours

Tel: 07860 359 544

Website www.gov.uk/hmrc

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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HMRC Press Office

HMRC Press Office

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HMRC Press Office Out Of Hours Contact

HMRC Press Office Out Of Hours Contact

Press contact 07860 359544

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.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
100 Parliament St
SW1A 2BQ London