Feeds

Judge slates Customs in £120m VAT fraud case

HMRC says lessons will be learned

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

HM Revenue and Customs insisted today that it would press on with its attempts to crack down on VAT fraud after a judge’s withering criticism of its handling of one prosecution.

Five Manchester-based businessmen accused of a £120m VAT fraud centring on imported mobile phones were freed last month, after Mr Justice Crane stayed the prosecution for abuse of process. Defense lawyers had accused the prosecution of withholding evidence, thus depriving the defendants of the right to a fair trial.

Mr Justice Crane, in a statement in the High Court today, said the prosecution had delayed disclosing information which either suggested their witnesses were not credible or that the prosecution witnesses were themselves involved in fraudulent importing and exporting.

It would not have been fair to try the defendents, Mr Justice Crane said.

It is thought that Mr Justice Crane's decision could have implications for around 18 similar cases.

In a statement, HM Customs and Revenue said it would carefully consider the ruling and ensure any lessons for the future were learned and swifty acted upon.

The agency said it would continue to tackle fraud, "with all the tools at our disposal" and insisted its actions already had "a major impact on the non-economic cross-border trade in mobile phones and computer chips and reduced significantly the tax losses to the exchequer."

HMCR said that such cases were extremely complex and resulted in huge numbers of documents. It said that while it was fully aware of the need to ensure the defence had all the relevant documents at the relevant time, "it is not always immediately apparent or clear what documents fall as 'relevant'."

More details in The Independent and on Bloomberg. ®

Related stories

Jury clears businessman in VAT fraud case
Customs loses VAT weapon

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.