David Jetuah, Accountancy Age, Friday 9 July 2010 at 09:27:00

Taxman lays claim to tower blocks in Dubai worth 80m, supercars and properties in Knightsbridge and Buckinghamshire in clawing back record haul from carousel fraudsters

Two members of a 21-strong carousel fraud gang have been told to hand over 92.3m in the biggest ever confiscation order secured by HM Revenue & Customs.

Syed Ahmed of Buckinghamshire and Shakeel Ahmad of Middlesex, both currently serving seven-year jail terms, were each ordered to repay 92.3m within two months or face an additional ten years in jail in addition to repaying the money.

Carousel, or Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud sees companies inside the EU buy small high- value goods such as mobile phones VAT free before selling the goods on with VAT included.

However, fraudsters keep the VAT instead of passing it on to the taxman. This process is repeated as the goods pass between traders, earning it the term " carousel" fraud.

In this case the gang made 37.5m through the MTIC fraud.The money was then used to bankroll the development of luxury flats in Dubai, the taxman said.

In laying down the confiscation order, the taxman has ring-fenced, or " restrained" two apartment tower blocks in Dubai worth 80m, luxury properties in Knightsbridge and Buckinghamshire collectively worth 6m and a fleet of supercars including a Ferrari 360 Modena convertible.

Richard Meadows, assistant director of criminal investigation for HMRC, said:

"This is the largest ever confiscation order secured by Revenue & Customs at the end of one of our most complicated investigations. I believe it to be one of the largest confiscation orders in the UK to date."

Further reading:

20m carousel fraud ring smashed