Brent men jailed for their role in �140million tax scam

Trio failed to pass on VAT cash to the authorities

A GANG of tax evaders who pocketed �140million through a VAT scam have been jailed for a total of 37-and-a-half years.

Andrew Hart, 40, of Lichfield Road, Cricklewood, Kevin Davis , 46, of Ashmore Road, Queen’s Park, and Abdul Jabbar Butt, 49, of Nettleden Avenue, Wembley, were part of a five-strong team who carried out an audacious import swindle.

Croydon Crown Court heard the men each set up their own limited company which allowed them to buy mobile phones and central processing units VAT free from other EU countries.

They went on to sell the goods with the 20 per cent levy charged to their unknowing customers, but pocketed the cash instead of passing it on to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as required by law.

To try and avoid detection, the gang took it in turns to establish their companies which would be closed down after around five weeks.

HMRC investigators believe although they failed to pay more than �140m they were paid a nominal amount of around �30,000 each for their role as the money was laundered through overseas associates.

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Their convictions are a result of a long investigation launched in 2005 by HMRC.

Butt, Davis, and a fourth accomplice Mohammed Tazib Chaudhery, from Berkshire, were sentenced to seven years in jail after being convicted of one count of cheating the revenue contrary to common law.

Hart got seven-and-a-half years for the same offence and a fifth man Tariq Sarwar, 44, from Gloucester, was handed down nine yeas for nine counts of the same charge.

Martin Brown from HMRC said: “The motivation of these men was pure greed.

“Their criminal activity blatantly deprived us all of millions of pounds for the nation’s public services.

“We are committed to pursue and prosecute those involved in this type of crime and reclaim any profits made.”

All five could have their assets seized in a confiscation hearing to be held at a later date.