Revenue probe sends music man to jail

The man, known only as H due to reporting restrictions, was given the opportunity to make a full disclosure under the Inland Revenue’s Hansard rule. Under the policy, H would have been able to settle his liabilities on a civil basis with the Revenue and would not have had to serve any jail time.

H did not co-operate with Revenue investigators, alleging before his trial began, that he had been a registered informer for Customs & Excise and had been given immunity from paying tax. Customs admitted that H had worked as an informer for them for a number of years, but denied that he had tax immunity.

H was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court, following an investigation by the Bristol Special Compliance Office which began in January. The investigation revealed that H ran a successful tobacco smuggling operation with numerous tobacco runs transporting cigarettes to a location in Southern Europe.

The Revenue found that H lived a lavish lifestyle spending £400,000 of his smuggling profits on promoting a rock band. In addition he had paid for a Mercedes car and a boat in cash. The investigation found that H was bringing in substantial amounts of money into the country.

During the trial, a number of Customs witnesses, who had worked under cover, gave evidence behind screens and through a voice-distorting machine to protect their identity. In January of this year H was arrested and his premises were searched.

Sentence was passed by Justice Wiggs who took into consideration that H owed the Revenue over £200,000 in taxes.


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