FRANKFURT: A ’24 carat’ gold smuggler from Dubai who brought £100 million worth of gold into Britain, named Chaudhry Ali was jailed for nine years in 2012 in big VAT fraud is ordered to repay £4.3million in tax, or he would be implemented to face extra imprisonment in jail.
Chaudry Ali, 52, was jailed for nine years in 2012 for spearheading an international smuggling ring which took precious metals from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Using an elaborate system of couriers, he swapped bags with his fellow smugglers in Frankfurt to avoid £9million in VAT because the tax is not payable within the EU. Chiefs at HM Revenue and Customs branded him a ’24-carat criminal’ when the scam was finally foiled two years ago.Images from the raid showed a laptop bag stuffed with gold jewelers including hundreds of bangles and bracelets.
The total resale value of all the gold he brought into Britain was estimated at £100million. His trial heard he had benefited to the tune of £7million – but forensic accounting later raised that figure to £9million, HMRC said.
A judge has now ruled Ali must repay half of that figure – and the deadline has been set to four months. If he does not pay it back, another ten years will be added to his sentence.
Making the order, Judge Paul Dodgson said Ali still denied his guilt – but had been ‘a dishonest witness who was quite prepared to lie in the face of overwhelming evidence.’ An HMRC spokesman insisted the figure was half of Ali’s ill-gotten gains because the law states authorities can only claim assets which a criminal actually has.
‘If in the future he comes into money we can go back to court‘, a spokesman said. ‘Just because he only has to pay back half it doesn’t mean he will never have to pay the rest back. It’s a life-long thing.’
During the original investigation, it was discovered Ali had organised 120 scam trips between January 2007 and April 2008, importing huge quantities of gold into Britain without paying tax. A courier would leave Britain in the afternoon, arriving in Dubai early the next morning.
They would collect the gold before leaving Dubai the same evening and returning to Britain via Frankfurt, Germany, where they met Ali in an airside lounge.
They would then swap bags – so Ali would leave with the gold and the courier would leave with an ordinary bag of clothes. The pair would then take separate flights back to the UK, passing through the European Union (EU) entry channel.