After discovering that his company was under VAT investigation by HMRC, a UK property developer fled the country to live a luxury lifestyle as a tax exile in the fashionable Monaco.

William Batchelor, 61, was arrested in November 2010, whilst at Luton airport waiting to depart for, and return to, Monaco.

VAT Fraud committed by Batchelor totalled £673,000 through fraudulent VAT repayment claims in relation to his propertyProperty Developer committed of VAT Fraud company, JCV Properties Ltd. Proceeds from Batchelor’s VAT Fraud funded his ‘playboy’ lifestyle of luxury apartments and classic cars in Monaco.

False VAT repayment claims were made up of fraudulent invoices for bogus purchases of land. When HMRC began investigating

Batchelor’s business VAT affairs he confessed the VAT Fraud to his accountant, who was unaware of the VAT Fraud. According to

HMRC, despite owning up to his accountant, Batchelor refused HMRC attempts to set up a meeting and instead fled for safety in Monaco.

Assistant Director of HMRC Criminal Investigations, Martin Brown, released the following press statement:

“William Batchelor used false invoices to cheat honest taxpayers out of £673,000. He used proceeds of that crime to fund his Monaco lifestyle which included a vintage Mercedes car worth over £100,000. HMRC was determined that he should remain in the UK to face our investigation. Anyone tempted to cheat the VAT system should be aware; we are investigating more time and resources than ever toidentify tax cheats and bring them to justice.”

Pleading guilty to obtaining VAT Fraud payments of £673,343.77 over a two year period from August 2008 to October 2010, Batchelor was given a four year prison sentence.

On 10 August, The Mail Online published pictures of Batchelor posing with his vintage Mercedes with a cigar in one hand and champagne in the other, cutting what they called an ‘enviable figure’; action to recover the proceeds of crime is currently underway.

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