A 32-year old VAT fraudster who traded in mobile phones has been ordered to pay £5.6m or face another seven years in jail.
Amer Razwan Munir was convicted of cheating the Revenue and money laundering offences in 2006 and jailed for seven years.
He was also disqualified from holding a post of director or company secretary for a period of nine years.
Following on from his conviction in December, Munir has now been issued with a confiscation order totalling £5,600,483 which he must pay within 12 months or a further seven years will be added to his jail sentence.
Manchester Crown Court heard how included in the fortune amassed by Munir was a huge sum he made developing 25 houses and flats in Huddersfield.
He bought three large Victorian houses in the town and then developed the site into a new housing complex.
His Honour Judge Gee said: “Those who commit serious frauds especially against the taxpayer can expect, when convicted, to be sentenced to a lengthy term of imprisonment.
“They will also be stripped of any assets that can be identified.”
The Customs investigation involved enquiries across several EU countries to establish the true nature of Munir’s operation.
“It became clear that he had purchased the mobile phones VAT free and then sold them on but reclaimed the sum of £6.8m.”
The asset recovery investigation and case work involved the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) working alongside Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers to trace Munir’s numerous properties and illicit business transactions.
Peter Hollier, HMRC assistant chief investigation officer, commented: “Tackling this type of crime is HMRC’s top fraud priority.
“It is a deliberate attack on the VAT system and the theft of huge sums of taxpayers’ money has a direct effect on the Government funds that are available to spend on essential public services.
“Our aim is to make life easier for the vast majority of honest, compliant businesses whilst taking the strongest measures against those found to be abusing the system.
“This case is a further example of HMRC’s determination to bring to justice the criminals involved in this type of fraud and also vigorously pursue the recovery of their illicitly derived assets with the assistance of colleagues in RCPO.
“This confiscation order today brings this case to a successful conclusion after the earlier prison sentence of seven years it now strips out the criminal assets and shows how determined we are to ensure that crime doesn’t pay.”
Munir traded as Talkland Telecom Ltd from Unit 8 Broughton Trade Centre, Broughton Lane, Salford.
Over a four-week period in 2001, Munir, through his company Talkland Telecom Ltd, traded over £40m worth of mobile phones and made fraudulent claims to VAT input tax totalling £6.8m.
The confiscation hearing sought to recover all the proceeds of Munir’s crimes.
Munir had acquired a substantial property portfolio including his architect-designed home in Cheshire, two apartments on Deansgate, Manchester, a house on Bury New Road, Strangeways, a house at Dawn Court, Fallowfield, a family house on Auburn Road, all in Manchester, and monies from the development of 25 houses and flats in Huddersfield.
As well as other property transactions in progress at the time of his arrest, he had paid a deposit on a luxury property in Jamariah Beach, Dubai.
Other assets traced include an Aston Martin valued at £134,000, more than £500,000 in overseas accounts, loans to other parties/companies in excess of £500,000 and a Rolex watch valued at £6,510; and a personal vehicle number plate valued at £4,500.