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HMRC releases hitlist of 20 most wanted tax cheats
Can you identify any of these tax cheats? HM Revenue & Customs has published its most wanted fugitives list online for the first time in an effort to hunt down the UK’s biggest tax fraudsters.
Peering from this grainy image is Israeli Yehuda Cohen, 35, who HMRC said ran two companies with the intention to commit a VAT fraud worth £800,000. He was arrested at Heathrow airport but went on the run while on bail.
Timur Mehmet, 39, played part in a major VAT fraud worth £25 million.
Mehmet absconded before his trial in January 2008. He was found guilty anyway and sentenced to eight years in prison.
HMRC believes he is currently living in Cyrus.
Emma Elizabeth Tazey
Fresh faced Emma Elizabeth Tazey, 38, is wanted in connection with another tax fugitive, Gordon Arthur, who also appears in this gallery.
In February 2000 Tazey skipped bail and a warrant for her arrest was issued.
HMRC thinks she could be in the USA.
Although he looks very presentable here, Gordon Arthur,60, is wanted by HMRC in connection with seven million illegally imported cigarettes with a duty and VAT value of over £1.1 million. A further 21 seizures of alcohol and tobacco were identified which can be attributed to Arthur with a duty value exceeding £5.5 million and a revenue loss nearer £15 million.
February 2000 he broke his bail conditions and a warrant for his arrest was issued in June 2002.
Like Emma Elizabeth Tazey, he is also believed to be in the USA.
Sahil Jain, 30, is believed to be somewhere in the UK following his failure to appear at court this year.
HMRC wants him in connection with VAT fraud of about £328,000 and a warrant was issued for his arrest on 8 June.
Rory Martin McGann
Rory Martin McGann looks a bit surprised to be here. HMRC believes he is connected with VAT offences that amount to £902,000.
McGann was arrested in Ireland and appeared in court in November 2008. He received bail to reappear in December 2009 but has gone AWOL.
Still at large and thought to be in the UK, Olutayo Owolabi is estimated to have cost the taxpayer a tidy sum somewhere in the region of £1 million. Owolabi’s offences relate to tax credits and money laundering.
He was convicted in his absence two years ago and sentenced to nine months.
Malcolm McGregor McGowan
HMRC reckon this chap is in sunny Spain after being involved in illegally importing more than 56,000 cigarettes, which in today’s market have a street value of more than £16 million.
McGowan pleaded not guilty in 2001, but before the trial ended fled abroad. In December 2011 he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to four years imprisonment.
Leigang Liang, 38, was also involved in cigarette dealing. In October 2010 HMRC and UKBA worked together to intercept 650 kilos of harmful counterfeit tobacco, 300,000 cigarettes and five tonnes of hand rolling tobacco imported illegally from China.
Liang and his gang were arrested, tried and unanimously found guilty. However, Liang managed to flee the court before the verdict and he was sentenced in absence to seven years.
Mohammed Sami Kaak
More cigarettes. Tunisian Mohammed Sami Kaak, 45, smuggled nearly four million cigarettes into the UK, evading an estimated £822,000 in duty between March 2005 and September 2006.
Kaak was arrested and charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to fraudulently evade Customs duty. And if that wasn’t enough, he also failed to appear in court in June 2008 so a warrant was raised for his arrest. Kaak was tried in absence where he received a four-year sentence.
HMRC reckons John Nugent is in the US, where he is believed to have fled having failed to appear in court in Manchester.
Nugent, 53, fraudulently claimed more than £22 million in duty and VAT reclaims. He was arrested and bailed, but never showed up at court.
Wayne Joseph Hardy
Wayne Joseph Hardy, 49, helped out in sourcing a tobacco manufacturing and rolling machine and smuggling almost 16 tonnes of raw leaf tobacco into the UK.
He disappeared before trail but was found guilty in absence and received a three-year sentence in October 2011. He is believed to be in South Africa.
Ukrainian Vladimir Jeriomin, 34, was a member of a racket that was making fraudulent claims for Income Tax Self Assessment repayments. The estimated loss of public money is thought to be £2 million.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest but HMRC reckons he is in Russia or Lithuania.
Hussain Asad Chohan
It is believed that Hussain Asad Chohan’s new stomping ground is Dubai after failing to appear in court for his part in an estimated £200 million fraud. Among other offences, Chohan imported 2.25 tonnes of tobacco worth £750,000 in duty alone. Chohan was tried in absence and found guilty.
He received a total of 11 years in prison for smuggling and fraud offences and failing to appear in court. Along with his sentence Chohan has also been served with a £33 million confiscation order.
Zafar Baidar Chisthi
Zafar Baidar Chisthi, 33, is wanted for his part in a large scale VAT fraud worth around £150 million. Chisthi failed to appear in court after being released on bail and was tried in absence and found guilty.
He was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud the public purse and one year for perverting the course of justice.
Swiss Cesare Selvini, 52, is wanted for concealing and smuggling platinum bars, thought to be worth around £600,000. Selvini didn’t show up for his court appearance in June 2005 so a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Nasser Ahmed, 40, is wanted for his role in a large scale VAT fraud in the region of £156 million. Ahmed fled from court prior to verdict in February 2005. He was sentences to six years.
HMRC has narrowed down possible hideouts for Ahmed as either Pakistan or Dubai.
Adam Umerji aka Shafiq Patel
Adam Umerji aka Shafiq Patel, 34, is wanted for fraud totalling £64 million.
Umerji was tried in absence and received a 12-year sentence for VAT fraud and five years for money laundering offences.
He is also believed to be in Dubai.
At 27, Dimitri Gaskov, is one of the youngest fraudsters on this wanted list. Nevertheless he’s managed to rack up a cost to the taxpayer of £197,000, working with a gang which concealed and smuggled an estimated three million cigarettes into the UK using desk top computers.
Gaskov fled before his trial. HMRC reckons he is in Estonia.
Not sure how helpful this picture will be in identifying this chap, especially as he is currently believed to be in Iraq. Darsim Abdullah, 42, is wanted in connection with a loss of £24 million.
Abdullah was part of a 12-man crime group that laundered between £1 million and £4 million a month from the proceeds of crime.
Know any of these men or want to find out more? Check out HMRC's Flickr channel here.