Three male platinum traders from Blackburn have been found guilty of trying to defraud the public purse of £4.5m.
Sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 9 August 2012, three platinum traders from Blackburn were found guilty of VAT fraud and sentenced for a total of 17 years between them: Shabir Karim got seven years for his involvement as ‘principle controller’ of the VAT fraud; Karim Bhatti, director of KB Jewellers, received five years imprisonment; Imran Bhatti, director of Regal Metals, also received five years for his involvement in the VAT fraud.
During the VAT Fraud Investigation, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) discovered that three North West companies were importing platinum from Italy and then selling the platinum on without making VAT payments to HMRC.
HMRC Director of Criminal Investigation, Alan Lee, released the following press statement:
“HMRC officers identified suspicious trading between several North West companies in 2006 and 2007. Their customers were paying VAT on items they bought but the metal traders were not declaring it. They simply pocketed the cash for their own personal gain. Tax Fraud and attempts to launder proceeds of crime are treated extremely seriously by HMRC, and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be attacking the Public Revenue in this way.”
A fourth man – Raymond Bowden from Altrincham, Cheshire, was also found guilty of the platinum trading VAT Fraud through his company, RBA Trading, although he did not turn up to trial and a court order has been issued for his arrest; He will be sentenced once found.
All three men sentenced will also be disqualified as directors when they are released from prison and will be subject to Crime Prevention Orders.
Kevin Kinsella Jnr, of KinsellaTax UK Ltd, said:
“Nothing very sophisticated; Bound to come unstuck. Just how long can tax fraud be kept going.”
Allegations of VAT Fraud are serious and anyone under VAT Investigation by HMRC should have professional representation from the outset.
KinsellaTax staff consists of ex-Inland Revenue Inspector of Taxes and ex-Custom and Excise Officers, fully trained in all types of HMRC Investigations.
Call our experienced team on 0800 471 4546.