Two members of a 21-strong tax fraud gang have been ordered to re-pay £92.3m, in the biggest ever confiscation order secured by HMRC.
Syed Ahmed of Buckinghamshire and Shakeel Ahmad of Middlesex, both currently serving seven year jail terms for the fraud, were jointly ordered to repay £92.3m within two months.
The two men will each face a further ten years in prison if they fail to abide by the order, as well as still having to repay the money.
The gang bought luxury houses in London, high performance cars, and built blocks of flats in Dubai after stealing £37.5m in a ‘missing trader' VAT tax fraud.
HMRC investigations began in April 2002 into the fraud which involved manipulating the VAT system through the import and export of computer processing units, mainly from Ireland VAT free.
The goods would then be sold on more cheaply, but with VAT added, through a chain of companies each involved in the plot.
Once the goods had been sold on a number of times they would be exported back to the EU, at which point the exporter would claim a VAT credit from HMRC for the tax paid on the purchase of the goods.
A court appointed receiver has now taken over the selling of Ahmed and Ahmad's assets to recoup the lost tax revenue.
According to HMRC, these include a £4.5m luxury flat in Knightsbridge, a house in Harrow worth £2m, a £1.5m house in Buckinghamshire, a riverside flat in Battersea worth £500,000, and two apartment tower blocks in Dubai worth £80m.
Other high value assets include a Ferrari 360 Modena convertible and a Mercedes 500CL.
HMRC claims the pair also gave ‘tainted gifts' to their families including top of the range designer clothing, a Range Rover and cash totalling around £1m.
In summing up, Judge Lord Justice Richard Flaux said: "You are both complete liars and devious.
"You are adept at using others in an attempt to make your activities legitimate, creating a smokescreen to hide the value of your assets and conceal this from HMRC."
The final defendant of the 21-strong gang was sentenced last month and ended one of the most complex investigations undertaken by HMRC which included seven trials and retrials.
Richard Meadows, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, says:"This is the largest ever confiscation order secured by Revenue & Customs at the end of one of our most complicated investigations.
"We are determined to bring to justice the criminals behind this type of fraud and take away the proceeds of their crime."
In total, the gang were jailed for 74 years.
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