Tax fraud gang ordered to pay record £92m

Luxury flat The £4.5m luxury London flat bought with fraudulent proceeds

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Two members of a 21-strong tax fraud gang have been ordered to repay a record £92.3m.

It is the biggest ever confiscation order by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The gang bought luxury houses in London and high performance cars and built flats in Dubai after stealing £37.5m in a VAT tax fraud.

The men, Syed Ahmed of Buckinghamshire and Shakeel Ahmad of Northwood, north west London, are currently serving seven year jail terms.

They will each face a further 10 years in prison if they fail to repay the money within two months.

The so-called missing trader scam worked by importing processing units for computers - mainly from Ireland - VAT free.

The goods would then be sold on, with VAT added, through a chain of companies each involved in the plot and sham invoices would be issued.

Once the goods had been sold on a number of times they would be exported back to the EU.

The exporter would then claim a credit from HMRC for the VAT paid on the purchase of the goods.

'Complete liars'

Richard Meadows, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: "This is the largest ever confiscation order secured by Revenue & Customs at the end of one of our most complicated investigations."

Officers have retained high value assets including a luxury flat in London's up-market Knightsbridge area, worth £4.5m and two apartment tower blocks in Dubai worth £80m.

Cars including a Ferrari 360 Modena convertible and a Mercedes 500CL have also been seized.

The judge at the trail, held at Leicester Crown Court, Lord Justice Richard Flaux, called the defendants "complete liars".

He told them: "You are adept at using others in an attempt to make your activities legitimate."

He added they had created a "smokescreen" to hide the value of the assets.

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