VAT fraudsters stripped of £7.5m properties
HMRC has sold five properties belonging to two fraudsters who were serving long sentences for a multimillion pound carousel VAT fraud
Sara White, Editor, Accountancy Daily
Northwest London based Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed were jailed in 2007 for their involvement in a £12.6m VAT fraud and had their sentences extended by 10 years after refusing to pay back any of the stolen funds.
HMRC has now confiscated five properties owned by the pair and sold them for £7.5m following a long-running investigation into the hidden assets.
One of the properties was held in an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The asset was a luxury mansion which was sold at auction for more than £2.1m, twice the listed price.
The palatial Buckinghamshire house (pictured), set in 1.65 acres of lush grounds, had two kitchens, five reception rooms, five bedrooms and a sauna.
Anther property was a luxury flat in Knightsbridge that was sold for £3.45m while a house in Northwood in Middlesex fetched £1m.
HMRC has now recovered around £10m from the pair by identifying and seizing property they owned.
During sentencing in 2007 the judge described the duo as ‘complete liars and devious’ and said they had ‘created a smokescreen to hide the value of your assets and conceal this from HMRC’.
Nicol Sheppard, assistant director in HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: ‘This house sale is a great result for taxpayers and it shows our work does not stop with a prison sentence. It is our job to make sure taxpayers get their money back.
‘We’ve recovered more than £10m from these two men, and we’ll carry on looking for more assets. Any we find will be sold to recover the money they stole with interest.
‘Anyone with information about suspected tax fraud can report it to HMRC online.’
Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmad were found guilty of VAT fraud as part of a missing trader intra-community fraud (MTIC) carried out by an organised crime gang.
The original VAT fraud saw 21 individuals receive prison sentences totalling 74 years.