Customs arrests 39 in VAT fraud swoop
In what the government hails as one the largest VAT fraud operations of its kind 39 people have been arrested for their part in a 'carousel' fraud network worth an estimated £120m.
The fraud involved buying mobile phones from the continent VAT free and supplying them to businesses in the UK. The carousel occurs when companies then sell the phones back to the Continent, without payment of VAT to the UK Government and without the phones ever being used by a consumer.
Operation ‘Euripus’ tackled businesses and homes across the country as well as searches in Barcelona, Malaga, Majorca and Tenerife.
At one of the business addresses, a tonne of cannabis was also seized.
‘VAT missing trader fraud is not a victimless crime, it costs around £2.5bn a year enabling criminals to fund lavish lifestyles – money that could pay for an extra 100,000 nurses,’ said economic secretary to the Treasury and Customs minister, John Healey.