Carousel fraud continues to surge

The latest Office for National Statistics numbers indicate that exports
affected by carousel fraud have increased to £5.5bn in the first quarter of this
year, compared with just £1.1bn in the same period of 2005.

The fraud is now so widespread that the ONS believes it is ‘difficult to
analyse trade figures’ as increases in carousel fraud ‘inflate both imports and

The fraud typically involves the export and import of small electronic goods
such as mobile phones and has become so sizable that it will be of concern to
Chancellor Gordon Brown.

In Brown’s March budget he predicted that he would reclaim as much as £1bn
over the next three years by clamping down on the fraud. In 2003/2004 the fraud
cost the state £1.9bn and since then the scourge has increased substantially.

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