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Police probe alleged DRAM VAT scam

VAT fraud widespread across Europe

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A year ago From The Register, 22 May 1998 (a year ago) Greater Manchester police have questioned a number of individuals in a joint investigation with Customs and Excise into alleged VAT fraud carried out on European DRAM imports. Greater Manchester police officer David Malcolm confirmed that an investigation into memory fraud was under way, but he said that no charges had been laid. The joint Police-Customs action follows a separate Dutch investigation on 16 March when 150 police raided a number of companies to check their trading history. They found that UK and Irish companies appeared to be involved in fraudulent DRAM trading and tipped off the UK authorities. One allegation is that individuals had assumed the name and VAT details of an reputable, international memory distributor to trade in DRAM products. While VAT fraud is rife in Europe on all products, a number of memory distributors, notably Dane-Elec, have complained of inaction by UK Customs authorities. Because the VAT rate differs from country to country, it means that already slim margins are eroded by criminals who ship quantities of SIMMs across the Community. Alan Stanley, MD of Dane-Elec UK, said it was hard for honest companies like his to make a living while such practices continued. ®

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