FOUR MEMBERS of a gang purporting to be producing Bollywood films have been handed prison sentences after a £6m tax fraud.
Between 2007 and 2011, the film makers used false paperwork and bank statements to support their claims for Bollywood-style films that were never actually made or the titles of which had been stolen.
One particular example was Billy, an animated story of a beagle dog escaping London Zoo in order to embark on a journey of self-discovery. It was never made.
For four years, HM Revenue & Customs was deceived into believing substantial investments were being made in producing feature films, when in fact repayments totalling £4.4m had been claimed but attempts to obtain a further £1.7m failed.
Anish Anand, Amit Kumar, Afsana Karim, and Sanjeev Mirajkar all denied their involvement in the scheme, but were all found guilty after a trial at Croydon Crown Court. Kumar was handed an 18-month sentence, Karim faces 15 months, while Mirajkar is to serve two years and six months, with a further six months to run concurrently.
Anand was sentenced to seven years in jail in his absence after he absconded before the trial began. Authorities are still attempting to establish his whereabouts.
HMRC assistant director David Margree: “This gang defrauded the taxpayer of a substantial amount of money. The majority of the payments obtained through this fraud were sent offshore, to Dubai, Luxembourg and India.
“We are keen to establish the location of Anish Anand, who has tried to cheat justice by absconding.”
Anyone with information regarding Anand can contact HMRC on 0800 59 5000.
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