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HMRC Cracks Down On Money Laundering And VAT Fraud

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

28 December 2007


Revenue & Customs officers investigating a suspected GBP20 million VAT missing trader and money laundering fraud swooped in early morning raids on Friday, making six arrests in Scotland.

Codenamed Operation Vaulter, the recent action was the result of a 24-month long investigation, and followed the arrest of 17 people in North West England last September.

Last week, four men and two women were arrested and four premises - three domestic and one commercial - were searched.

Chris Harrison, Director of Operations, Criminal Investigations, for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) announced on Friday that:

"Tackling missing trader fraud is HMRC's top priority. We have a duty to protect the revenue given the scale and nature of the attacks we are seeing. This week's arrests are the result of a lengthy investigation by dedicated officers who work tirelessly and diligently, fighting criminal attacks on the tax system."

"The sophistication of the organised crime gangs behind these frauds means that our investigations are increasingly complex but we are committed to bringing the criminals responsible to justice and to recovering the money stolen from the British taxpayer, wherever in the world our investigations lead. This is not victimless crime, it's organised crime that causes real harm," he added.

Those arrested are believed to have been part of an organised crime group operating a network of companies that 'carouselled' large quantities of mobile phones and other low volume, high value goods, buying them VAT-free from European Union, and then selling them on to businesses in the UK, then defaulting without paying the VAT due.


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