The UK’s top 32 tax criminals of 2012 have been sentenced to a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars, including a gang of seven men who smuggled more than 20 million cigarettes into the UK from Dubai and a London-based jeweller who evaded more than GBP 7 million VAT by smuggling gold bought in Dubai into the UK.
The jeweller, Chaudray Ali, was sentenced to nine years in prison. The gang of seven, which described over 20 million smuggled cigarettes on shipping documents as babies’ toys, received a collective sentence of 24 years and six months.
Paul O’Meara, Robert Doran, Patrick Gray, Martin Cleland, Mark Sadgrove, Wayne Stock and Matthew Neale were arrested after some were seen unloading over 10 million illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Upminster after they had been smuggled into the UK from Dubai through the port of Felixstowe. The total duty evaded is estimated as GBP 3.3 million.
Ali brought the gold into Britain via Frankfurt to avoid VAT payments over a two-year period.The tax evaders were named and shamed on Flickr as part of HMRC’s current Tax Evasion Campaign. Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said, “The Government is committed to closing in on tax evaders . Collectively the 32 criminals have been sentenced to more than 150 years. Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t. "We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future.”