HMRC have outed £6.9m tax fraud focused on the construction industry after a two year investigation.

Following a six week trial, three men were convicted of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and will be sentenced next week at Maidstone Crown Court.

Accountant Aquil Ahmed, 60, Victor Shearer, 43, a construction services company director; and Christopher Azzopardi, 36, a payroll administrator, all from Kent, defrauded HMRC of VAT, Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions and Construction Industry Scheme deductions over two-and-a-half years.

Ahmed and Azzopardi operated a number of UK registered companies and bank accounts which they invoiced their clients for, but failed to make payment of taxes to HMRC.

A total of £7m in PAYE, National Insurance contributions, Construction Industry Scheme deductions and VAT was withheld by Ahmed’s pay roll companies between 2010 and 2012.

Chris Gill, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HM Revenue & Customs, said: “HMRC uncovered this complex and sophisticated fraud, operated through a multitude of UK and offshore companies.

“The fraudsters abused the tax system which is designed to ensure workers are paid correctly, and taxes are paid to HMRC.

“This investigation shows that regardless of the resources of those involved, no one is beyond our reach.”

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