HMRC has successfully sold five properties owned by Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed, who were serving lengthy sentences for their involvement in a multimillion-pound carousel VAT fraud.
The North West London-based duo, originally jailed in 2007 for their role in a £12.6 million VAT fraud, had their sentences extended by an additional 10 years after refusing to repay the stolen funds.
Asset Confiscation and Auction: Uncovering Hidden Wealth
Following an extensive investigation into their hidden assets, HMRC confiscated and sold these properties for a total of £7.5 million.
One of the properties was held in an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands. This luxurious mansion was auctioned for over £2.1 million, twice its listed price. The Buckinghamshire house, set in 1.65 acres of lush grounds, featured two kitchens, five reception rooms, five bedrooms, and even a sauna.
Another property, a luxury flat in Knightsbridge, was sold for £3.45 million, while a house in Northwood, Middlesex, fetched £1 million. In total, HMRC has now recovered approximately £10 million from the pair by identifying and seizing their properties.
Judge's Scathing Remarks During Original Sentencing
At the time of their original sentencing in 2007, the judge described Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmed as "complete liars and devious," noting that they had "created a smokescreen to hide the value of your assets and conceal this from HMRC."
Nicol Sheppard, assistant director in HMRC’s fraud investigation service, emphasised, "This house sale is a great result for taxpayers, and it shows our work does not stop with a prison sentence. It is our job to make sure taxpayers get their money back. We’ve recovered more than £10 million from these two men, and we’ll carry on looking for more assets. Any we find will be sold to recover the money they stole with interest."
Syed Ahmed and Shakeel Ahmad were found guilty of VAT fraud as part of a missing trader intra-community fraud (MTIC) scheme carried out by an organised crime gang. The original VAT fraud case led to 21 individuals receiving prison sentences totalling 74 years.
HMRC continues to encourage individuals with information about suspected tax fraud to report it online.
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