TaxPersonal TaxCustoms celebrate £20m VAT bust

Customs celebrate £20m VAT bust

Customs officers celebrated this week after catching out a businessman who used a £20m VAT fraud to lavish his mistress with diamonds from royal jewellers.

Daniel O’Connell was jailed for eight years at Middlesex Crown Court for a three-year plot involving computer chips, the Times reported yesterday.

O’Connell was found guilty of five counts of tax evasion between April 1996 and February last year, following a six-month trial.

The jury heard how the scam was based on the VAT-free status of goods exported from one EU country to another.Peter Cook, QC for the prosecution, said O’Connell had bought components and made them appear as if they were headed for companies in Ireland.

However, most of the £100m purchases never left Britain but were diverted to a warehouse to be sold at a profit.

O’Connell, 47, attempted to put Customs officers off the scent by handing over small payments, while treating his girlfriend to treats including a £16,000 Cartier watch and an Asprey & Garrard emerald and diamond ring worth £30,000.

Customs investigators said they were seeking a former Irish Republic minister – Michael Keating, a member of the government during the 1980’s – thought to be a partner in crime.

Keating cannot be extradited for trial, but faces arrest if he attempts to enter the country.

Related Articles

Inheritance tax is 'unfit for modern society' and should be abolished, says think tank

Personal Tax Inheritance tax is 'unfit for modern society' and should be abolished, says think tank

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

Personal Tax Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

2m Helen Thornley, ATT Technical Officer
What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

Personal Tax What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

4m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

Administration LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

5m Lucy Skoulding, Reporter
HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

Administration HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

Personal Tax HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

7m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

Administration New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

8m Emma Rawson, ATT Technical Officer
Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

Personal Tax Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

9m Alia Shoaib, Reporter