Tayside and Central Scotland

Jury told Dundee businessman accused of fraud was naive

A jury has been told a Dundee businessman accused of cheating the government out of millions of pounds was an enthusiastic but naive entrepreneur, not a fraudster.

Shahid Ramzan, 40, from Broughty Ferry, denies he was responsible for VAT evasion amounting to some £6m.

He also denies two Spanish companies he floated were used to fraudulently export £20.5m out of the UK.

The trial at the High Court in Edinburgh continues.

Mr Ramzan is accused of using so-called missing trader intra community (MTIC) fraud to transfer the funds out of the country.

The trial has heard that MTIC frauds typically involve imported goods being passed from company to company to fool Customs and Excise into refunding VAT which has never actually been paid.

'Genuine trades'

The two and a half month trial at the High Court in Edinburgh has reached its closing stages, with defence QC Murray Macara making his closing speech to the jury.

The lawyer told them that Mr Ramzan had been open about everything he had done, including his ambition to make money by buying and selling mobile phones.

Mr Macara said the trade was genuine, not simply a front to cheat the Treasury. He added: "He didn't think he was doing anything wrong."

The trial has heard how Mr Ramzan's bankers stepped in and closed his accounts after customs officers passed on their suspicions about what he was doing.

Mr Macara said: "There is a degree of openness about Mr Ramzan's relationship with the bank, a degree of enthusiasm which, while painting him as a somewhat naive entrepreneur also paints him as someone who wanted to be involved in legitimate trade."

A verdict in the case is expected to be reached later this week.

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