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HRMC reveals most wanted tax fugitives

16th Aug 2012
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HMRC has published for the first time the photos and biographies of people they consider to be the top 20 tax fugitives in the UK, responsible for £765m of tax evasion and fraud.

The Revenue has called on the public to help track down the individuals by contacting Crimestoppers; however most of the fugitives are now thought to be living outside the UK.

The FBI-style mugshots are of “tax criminals who have absconded after being charged with a crime or during trial” for fraud, money laundering and smuggling.

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary, said: "The government is absolutely committed to tackling tax evasion and fraud.

"These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765m and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly. We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them."

The photos have been published on HMRC’s Flickr page.

Here’s the detailed list in full:

Name: Hussain Asad Chohan

Region: West Midlands

Court where warrant was issued: Birmingham Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Dubai

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £200m

Bio: Smuggler and fraudster, Hussain Chohan, is wanted after failing to appear in court for his part in an estimated £200m fraud. Among other offences, Chohan imported 2.25 tonnes of tobacco worth £750,000 in duty alone. Chohan was tried in absence and found guilty. He received a total of 11 years in prison for smuggling and fraud offences and failing to appear in court. Along with his sentence Chohan has also been served with a £33 million confiscation order.

Name: Nasser Ahmed

Region: South West

Court where warrant was issued: Bristol Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Pakistan/Dubai

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £156m

Bio:  Nasser Ahmed is wanted for his role in a large scale VAT fraud in the region of £156m. Ahmed fled from court prior to verdict in February 2005. He was sentenced to six years in his absence in March 2005 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Name: Zafar Baidar Chisthi

Region: Greater London

Court where warrant was issued: Kingston on Thames Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Pakistan

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £150m

Bio: Zafar Chisthi is wanted for his part in a large scale VAT fraud worth around £150m. Chisthi failed to appear in court after being released on bail and was tried in absence and found guilty. He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud the public purse and one year for perverting the course of justice.

Name: Darsim Abdullah

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Guildford Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Iraq

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £24m

Bio: Darsim Abdullah was part of a 12 man crime group that laundered between £1m and £4m a month from the proceeds of crime. Eleven members of the group either were found or pleaded guilty to the offence but Darsim absconded before sentencing.

Name: Leigang Liang

Region: South

Court where warrant was issued: Lewes Crown Court

Country believed to be in: UK

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £2.6m

Bio: In October 2010 HMRC and UKBA worked together to intercept 650 kilos of harmful counterfeit  tobacco, 300,000 cigarettes and 5 tonnes of hand rolling tobacco which was imported illegally from China. Leigang Liang was the key player in this operation and his gang was arrested, tried and unanimously found guilty. Liang fled the court before the jury found him guilty. He was sentenced in absence to seven years.

Name: Olutayo Owolabi

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Wood Green Crown Court

Country believed to be in: UK

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £1m

Bio: Olutayo Owolabi is still at large for 27 offences relating to tax credits and money laundering. In January 2010 Owalabi was convicted in absence and sentenced to nine months. 

Name: Wayne Joseph Hardy

Region: Midlands

Court where warrant was issued: Ipswich Crown Court

Country believed to be in: South Africa

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £1.9m

Bio: Wayne Hardy and others conspired to cheat the public purse through tax fraud on tobacco products. Hardy assisted in sourcing a tobacco manufacturing and rolling machine and smuggling almost 16 tones of raw leaf tobacco into the UK. Hardy absconded before trail but was found guilty in absence and received a three-year sentence in October 2011.

Name: Adam Umerji aka Shafiq Patel

Region: North West

Court where warrant was issued: Liverpool Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Dubai

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £64m

Bio: Adam Umerji is a wanted fraudster who stole an estimated £64m from the UK tax payer. Umerji was tried in absence where he received a 12 year sentence for VAT fraud and five years for money laundering offences.

Name: Gordon Arthur

Region: North West/Scotland

Court where warrant was issued: Maidstone Crown Court

Country believed to be in: USA

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £15m

Bio: In March 1999 UK Customs detected seven million illegally imported cigarettes with a duty and VAT value over £1.1m. A further 21 seizures of alcohol and tobacco were identified which can be attributed to Arthur with a duty value exceeding £5.5m and a revenue loss nearer £15m. In February 2000 Gordon Arthur broke his bail conditions and absconded; a warrant for his arrest was issued in June 2002.

Name: Emma Elizabeth Tazey

Region: North West

Court where warrant was issued: Maidstone Crown Court

Country believed to be in: USA

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £15m

Bio: Tazey is wanted in connection with Gordon Arthur, another on the Most Wanted list. In March 1999 UK Customs detected 7 million illegally imported cigarettes with a duty and VAT value £1.16m. A further 21 seizures of alcohol and tobacco were identified which can be attributed to Arthur with a duty value exceeding £5.5m and a revenue loss nearer £15m. In February 2000 Tazey broke her bail conditions and absconded; a warrant for her arrest was issued.

Name: John Nugent

Region: North West

Court where warrant was issued: Manchester Crown Court

Country believed to be in: USA

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £22m

Bio: John Nugent fraudulently claimed more than £22m in duty and VAT reclaims. Nugent was arrested and bailed, but he failed to appear in court and fled abroad. He is suspected to be in the US.

Name: Malcolm McGregor McGowan

Region: Midlands/Scotland

Court where warrant was issued: Sheffield Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Spain

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £16m

Bio: Between November 1999 and March 2000, Malcolm McGowan was involved in illegally importing 56.6 thousand cigarettes, which in today’s market has a street value of more than £16m. Malcolm and others went on trail in September 2001 where he pleaded not guilty, but before the trial ended McGowan fled abroad. In December 2011 McGowan was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to four years imprisonment. He was last believed to have be seen in Spain.

Name: Timur Mehmet

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Northampton Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Cyprus

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £25m

Bio: Timur Mehmet is wanted for his role in a large scale VAT fraud worth around £25m. Mehmet absconded pre-trial in January 2008, but was found guilty in absence and sentenced to eight years.

Name: Vladimir Jeriomin

Region: North West

Court where warrant was issued: Liverpool Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Russia/Lithuania

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £4.8m

Bio: Jeriomin was a member of an organised crime group that defrauded the public purse by making fraudulent claims for Income Tax Self Assessment repayments. The estimated loss of public money is thought to be £2m. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Jeriomin after he failed to surrender.

Name: Cesare Selvini

Region: Non UK

Court where warrant was issued: Dover Magistrates Court

Country believed to be in: Switzerland

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £600,000

Bio: Cesare Selvini is wanted for concealing and smuggling platinum bars, thought to be worth around £600,000. Selvini failed to appear in court in June 2005 so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Name: Dimitri Gaskov

Region: Non UK

Court where warrant was issued: Ipswich Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Estonia

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £197,000

Bio: Gaskov was part of a gang which concealed and smuggled an estimated three million cigarettes into the UK using desk top computers. After a long investigation Gaskov fled before the trial.

Name: Mohamed Sami Kaak

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Isleworth Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Tunisia

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £822,000

Bio: Between March 2005 and September 2006, Mohamed Sami Kaak smuggled nearly 4 million cigarettes into the UK evading an estimated £822,000 in duty. Kaak was arrested and charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to fraudulently evade Customs duty. He failed to appear in court in June 2008 so a warrant was raised for his arrest. Kaak was tried in absence where he received a four year sentence.

Name: Rory Martin McGann

Region: Northern Ireland /EIRE

Court where warrant was issued: Belfast Crown Court

Country believed to be in: Ireland

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £902,000

Bio: Rory McGann is wanted for VAT offences amounting to over £902,000. McGann was arrested in the Ireland and appeared in court in November 2008. He received bail to reappear in December 2009 and never returned.

Name: Yehuda Cohen

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)

Country believed to be in: Israel

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £800k

Bio: For a number of years Yehuda Cohen ran two companies with the intention to defraud HMRC by committing VAT fraud worth approximately £800k. In March 2011 Cohen was arrested at London Heathrow and later bailed but failed to return to court and is still on the run.

Name: Sahil Jain

Region: London

Court where warrant was issued: Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)

Country believed to be in: UK

Estimated cost to taxpayer: £328,000

Bio: Jain was arrested in connection to VAT Fraud of around £328,000. He failed to appear at the Central Criminal Court and a warrant was issued for his arrest on 8 June 2012.

Replies (22)

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By kenfrost
16th Aug 2012 10:46

HMRC's Most Wanted

Old news, I covered this a month ago.

The Most Wanted also includes pics of Excom etc:)

http://hmrcisshite.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/hmrcs-most-wanted.html

Thanks (1)
Replying to DJKL:
Time for change
By Time for change
16th Aug 2012 11:03

Well, in fairness Ken,

it takes them two months to reply to a standard letter!

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Replying to Portia Nina Levin:
By kenfrost
16th Aug 2012 11:15

Good Point!

That's a very good point, I was being foolish to expect speed and alacrity from HMRC!

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Replying to DJKL:
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By dstickl
17th Aug 2012 01:00

@kenfrost:But it didn't reach the national media then did it ...

kenfrost wrote:

Old news, I covered this a month ago.   ...

But it didn't reach the national media then, unfortunately.  Now that it has, then ...  

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By JC
16th Aug 2012 11:19

Bounty hunter wanted ...

For percentage reward to deliver 'fugitives' to the law - fee say 2.5%-5% of recoveries

Any takers ...

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By frustratedwithhmrc
16th Aug 2012 11:22

Looking at the details here...

It seems as though the bulk of the crimes by value are pretty much Carousel Fraud and Tobacco duty evasion. The first is caused by flaws within the system / legislation and the second is caused by the massive discrepancy between the base product and the duty paid product.

We already have a solution to carousel fraud, which is better enforcement and contingent liability within the supply chain for high value goods.

For tobacco duty fraud, there is no simple solution, the duty paid is simply excessive and rising. Criminal gangs which were previously involved in drug smuggling have shifted over to tobacco smuggling as it can be shifted in much higher volumes and the chances of being caught appear to be less.

Although I acknowledge that there are health issues here, by having such high levels of duty for a product which is legal to possess, we are effectively giving aid and comfort to criminal gangs.

With minimum pricing on alcohol, we are effectively moving in the same direction as well.

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By ThornyIssues
17th Aug 2012 07:22

So why isn't ....

Harnett on that list then?

 

Thanks (2)
Replying to sbayliss:
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By dstickl
17th Aug 2012 08:28

@ ThornyIssues: Good shot ... Bullseye!

ThornyIssues wrote:

So why isn't ... Hartnett on that list then?

Good shot ... Bullseye!

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By chicken farmer
17th Aug 2012 10:25

I see that one of them was arrested at Heathrow and bailed. He subsequently skipped the country - presumably via Heathrow again!

Am I alone in thinking that either the Court of HMRC slipped up here?

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By JC
17th Aug 2012 10:46

Or maybe the Equadorian embassy could help ..

@chicken farmer

after all they seem to be offering asylum to bail jumpers & those charged with rape so tax fugatives should be a doddle

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Replying to michaelblake:
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By dstickl
20th Aug 2012 15:54

@JC:Julian A has NOT "been charged with rape", merely been asked

JC wrote:

@chicken farmer

Or maybe the Equadorian embassy could help ...  after all they seem to be offering asylum to bail jumpers & those charged with rape so tax fugatives should be a doddle

Hi JC!    For the sake of accuracy: I understand that: Sorry no, JC, Julian A has NOT yet "been charged with rape", he's merely been asked to go to Sweden to answer some Police questions.  IMHO: This is somewhat different from the alleged DSK alleged case, when DSK was allegedly with the IMF.

For those readers on this site who have expressed a wish to reduce public expenditure [in order to reduce taxes, phew - glad to be on topic!] may I suggest that it would be cheaper for us UK taxpayers if the Swedish police, etc, interviewed Julian A over a video link, wouldn't it, rather than us poor UK taxpayers having to see on TV lots of Met police hanging about the Ecuadoran Embassy [near Harrods] on a Sunday, etc, possibly being paid overtime, on top of normal police salary?

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By mikefleming3028
17th Aug 2012 12:15

VAT Tax gap and Fraud

HMRC`s press release is interesting on a number of fronts, first the fact that the majority of the "tax" which is the sublect of the fraud is VAT. Reference to HMRC Official Statics Release of 21st September 2011 measures th tax gap at £35billion of which £11.4billion is VAT. In the same perion the figure quoted by HMRC for Avoidance is £1.5billion. Now having regard to the recent flurry of HMRC press releases on avoidance and how morally unacceptable it is would the general public be happy to learn that the amoun of VAT defrauded from the system is 7.6 times more than that estimated to be unpaid from avoidance. There is of course the fact that the individuals identified have "had it away with huge amounts of" physical "cash" ie theft and all of them, according to HMRC are on the run with some in foreign climes from whence we will never hear from them again,we hope!. I find it hard to comprehend that bearing in mind the sums involved how any of these people managed not only to convince a Judge to grant them bail but also to skip the country with apparent ease.

The obvious conclusion from this information is that the VAT system is leaking like a sieve and even when defrauders are identified  HMRC`s system that deals with the prosecution process is not up to the challenge.I suspect that this recent release has been made as part of an orchestrated attempt to justify all of the recent hot air of certain Politicians on the subject of Avoidance. In my view however all it demonstrates is that HMRC`s focus is grossly misplaced and that they need to take a long hard look at how easy it is for  the UK VAT system  to be penetrated by people who are intent on outright theft/fraud call it what you will.  I view these  failures as a source of embarrassment for HMRC`s Board members  and the fact that the Minister takes a different view I find "interesting". Someone at HMRC needs a reality check.

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By jalwebster
20th Aug 2012 13:27

Forgive me if I sound racist but do these names indicate that the majority of those concerned are not  British by birth or descent and perhaps their countries of origin pay less attention to the rule of law and responsibility to society as a whole.  Should we not be deportinbg them rather than trying to jail them and then have to pay for years to keep them behind bars!!!

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By The Black Knight
20th Aug 2012 13:43

just shows what a shambles it all is.

You would think you need to be clever to get away with these crimes but NO.

One guy leaves during his trial?? Hello??

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Replying to codling:
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By ThornyIssues
22nd Aug 2012 13:58

I suspect that ....

The Black Knight wrote:

You would think you need to be clever to get away with these crimes but NO.

One guy leaves during his trial?? Hello??

 

The clever ones are in fact getting away with £Bn's.

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By The Black Knight
23rd Aug 2012 11:39

Quite!

ThornyIssues wrote:

The Black Knight wrote:

You would think you need to be clever to get away with these crimes but NO.

One guy leaves during his trial?? Hello??

 

The clever ones are in fact getting away with £Bn's.

and they (HMRC) have a rule about taking advice, hints from higher intelligence which is why an obstinate blind eye is turned to the bleeding obvious, and only the seriously stupid are caught by sudo Darwinism.

Winds me up terrible!

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7om
By Tom 7000
20th Aug 2012 15:01

Dog the bounty hunter

I have seen him on TV, he can get these people back, whats the reward?

It cant be too hard to find someone in pakistan with £50m...theres only about 3 of them, they will be on the sunday times ( pakistan edition) rich list.

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By philfromleeds
20th Aug 2012 16:53

 If I could help the Wiki

 If I could help the Wiki leaks guy to escape the country I would.

Now Tax Fraud etc. HMRC wants to do everything on the cheap. They should offer financial rewards. Say 10 percent of the amount recovered.

 

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
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By dstickl
20th Aug 2012 18:58

@philfromleeds:Whistle blowers should "share" & not be "shunned"

philfromleeds wrote:

 If I could help the Wiki leaks guy to escape the country I would.

Now Tax Fraud etc. HMRC wants to do everything on the cheap. They should offer financial rewards. Say 10 percent of the amount recovered.

Hi philfromleeds!  I fully agree, and would add that IF parliament believes in the power of private sector & market forces THEN parliament should put its money where its mouth is, and quickly pass implementable legislation so that whistle blowers aren't "shunned", but that ethical whistle blowers "share" at least 10% of any public savings.

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Replying to fawltybasil2575:
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By Brugesbear
21st Aug 2012 16:47

UK taxpayer

As I understand it, JA is Australian, wanted in Sweden, and wants to seek shelter in Ecuador. In the meantime, the UK taxpayer is picking up the tab for legal costs etc. It's got nothing to do with us so let's just let him go wherever the hell he wants to and get him off the payroll.

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By ds
20th Aug 2012 18:10

JC and the Met

It would appear to add support to JC's argument that this isn't really about helping the Swedish plod with their enquiries but more to do with packing him off to some hell hole in good ole US and A never to be heard of again.

 

As for the tax evaders, horse bolted and stable door comes to mind and maybe this is all about being seen to do something about evasion when the crims involved have as much chance behind bars as do the CEO of Barclays, Vodafone et al.

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By The Black Knight
21st Aug 2012 09:44

the reverse side of the coin?

Is that England no longer exists, and we turn into a nation of state reporters that characterises oppressive regimes.

HMRC do apparently pay some crime stoppers rewards (very small amounts though)

It does look as if more got away than are actually behind bars.

Why do HMRC not make more of these cases? most of which remain unheard of?

The criminal trial, is public but not publicised, unless the national press make an issue of it.

Deliberate defaulters.....HMRC have still not found any deliberate defaulters? why is that?

The problem of tax evaders and company law breakers is that they can rip anyone off as we see on rogue traders when fraudulent businesses are not stopped (when they could have been) by tax and companies act legislation and are left to rip of their next elderly customer.

I guess this is just another way the government releases cash (life savings) into the economy so has no interest in stopping it.

Too little too late comes to mind but I suppose they are making a start. A whole lot more hangings are needed to reverse the past 15 years of not giving a monkey's.

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