Platinum traders guilty of £4.5m VAT tax evasion
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."
At 08:02:46 in HeadlinesAn "immediate ceasefire" in Ukraine must be the priority for key negotiations taking place on Monday, Russia's foreign minister has said.
At 08:00:52 in EnglandMore than 30 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a landfill site in Dorset.
At 07:56:29 in ScotlandSkin cancer cases have increased two-and-a-half fold over the last 30 years but survival rates have also soared, according to researchers from Glasgow.
At 07:55:14 in HeadlinesPakistan's national television channel has been taken off air after its headquarters were stormed by anti-government protesters in Islamabad.
At 07:54:08 in Northern IrelandThe Stormont Assembly is hopeful it has found a buyer for Ormiston House, a building in Belfast that was costing the taxpayer almost £3,000 a week.
At 07:48:10 in EnglandA motorcyclist has died after crashing while riding on the slip road of a motorway in Hampshire.
At 07:46:22 in EnglandA motorcyclist has been killed in a crash after appearing to lose control, Kent Police said.
At 07:45:04 in WalesSpeed restrictions signs have been put up outside half the schools in Flintshire in time for the start of the new term with the remainder due to be complete by October.
At 07:44:31 in SportBradford Bulls have signed Salford Red Devils winger Danny Williams on a two-year deal.
At 07:43:31 in BusinessA single, larger hub airport where passengers can transfer to a range of destinations - is "critical" to the UK's long-term economic growth, says the CBI.
Harvard CitationBBC 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 1st Sep 2014]
News In Other Categories
Millions of children in England will begin a "tough" new national curriculum when they return to school this week.
The Stormont Assembly is hopeful it has found a buyer for Ormiston House, a building in Belfast that was costing the taxpayer almost £3,000 a week.
An "immediate ceasefire" in Ukraine must be the priority for key negotiations taking place on Monday, Russia's foreign minister has said.
Speed restrictions signs have been put up outside half the schools in Flintshire in time for the start of the new term with the remainder due to be complete by October.
Under Milk Wood is an acknowledged radio classic. Dylan Thomas's dramatic masterpiece was first broadcast in January 1954 and almost nobody involved is left alive. But to mark the poet's centenary the original sound effects man has been persuaded to return to rattle the teacups one last time.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com