Glasgow & West Scotland

VAT fraudster Ronnie Decker to lose £3m crime cash

HM Revenue and Customs Image copyright HM Revenue and Customs
Image caption The crown Office and HM Revenue and Customs's Criminal Taxes Unit worked on the Q-Tech case

A man who was implicated in a multi-million pound VAT fraud is set to lose £3m under proceeds of crime laws.

Ronnie Decker was linked to a scheme where VAT on bogus transactions was claimed back through former Glasgow-based firm Q-Tech Distribution Limited.

In 2011, prosecutors manages to freeze assets he held in countries including France, Antigua and Luxembourg.

They have now secured the forfeiture of assets including property, jewellery, cash, bank accounts and investments.

'Line his pockets'

Linda Hamilton, head of the Crown's Civil Recovery Unit, said: "Ronnie Decker set out to illegitimately extract monies from the UK Treasury through the systematic abuse of the VAT repayments system, in order to line his and his families' pockets with funds that otherwise would have been available to the public purse.

"We take such criminality very seriously, and in this case worked hand-in-hand with HM Revenue and Customs's Criminal Taxes Unit to conduct a financial investigation that spanned the globe.

"We traced the movements of Decker's funds and assets across three continents to build up a picture of the true scale of his profiteering, and uncovered around £3m in illegal assets."

Q-Tech was set up in June 2000 and operated until May 2001, importing computer components from the Republic of Ireland.

In May 2001, the various assets belonging to the firm were frozen after its premises in Glasgow were searched by customs officers.

Carousel fraud

It was later discovered that Q-Tech made millions of pounds by claiming back VAT on false Europe-wide business transactions in a scam known as carousel fraud.

The firm and its sole director, Mohammed Sarfraz Sattar, were pursued under proceeds of crime legislation and both agreed to an out of court settlement of £1,271,842.

Another man, Michael Voudouri, from Bridge of Allan, also admitted claiming back VAT through Q-Tech. He is currently serving an 11-year jail term for money laundering and failing to appear for sentencing.

During the investigation, it was established that Decker, who is originally from Sierra Leone and was educated in Scotland, was heavily involved in the VAT fraud and the subsequent laundering of the proceeds.

The Court of Session has now made a recovery order stripping Decker and members of his family of the entirety of his illegally-earned assets.

These will now be seized and where appropriate sold, with the funds raised provided to the Scottish government in due course.

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