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Platinum traders guilty of £4.5m VAT tax evasion

Category: England

Published: 9th Aug 2012 11:20:22

Four men from north-west England have been found guilty of evading £4.5m in tax while trading platinum.

Mohammed Karim and Kamran Bhatti, both 41, and Imran Bhatti, 38, were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court.

Karim was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, while both Bhatti brothers were jailed for five years.

Raymond Bowden, 69, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, was also found guilty, but absconded during the trial and will be sentenced when found.

Karim was also disqualified from being a company director for eight years upon release, while the Bhattis were disqualified from holding such a role for six years on release.

They simply pocketed the cash for their own personal gain”

The tax evasion was discovered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) after an investigation into three North West companies which were importing platinum ingots from Italy between 2006 and 2007 and selling them on without paying VAT.

An HMRC spokeswoman said evidence had shown that Karim, of Billinge End Road in Blackburn, Lancashire, was the "principal controller who orchestrated the trading", who had been helped by brothers Kamran Bhatti, of Churchill Road, and Imran, of Brooklands Terrace, both Blackburn.

She said Kamran had acted as the "front man in the fraud".

The spokeswoman added that Bowden, of Barrington Road, was a director of one of the companies and was "often a courier for the shipments".

The 69-year-old absconded during the trial and was convicted in his absence. Sentence will be passed upon his capture.

Alan Lee, HMRC Director of Criminal Investigation, said the companies' customers had been "paying VAT on items they bought but the metal traders were not declaring it".

"They simply pocketed the cash for their own personal gain," he said.

"Tax fraud and attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are treated extremely seriously by HMRC and we will relentlessly pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be attacking the public revenue in this way."

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BBC News, 2012. Platinum traders guilty of £4.5m VAT tax evasion [Online] (Updated 9th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1445358/Platinum-traders-guilty-of-4-5m-VAT-tax-evasion [Accessed 21st Apr 2014]

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