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VAT fraudster gets six years

Massive mobile missing trader fraud

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A man was jailed for six years on Friday for his part in VAT-avoiding carousel fraud.

Mark Selby pleaded guilty to missing trader offences between May 2002 and May 2003. During that time Selby's company sold mobile phones worth £326.5m to 12 UK companies.

He also sold phones to Spanish companies which supplied the same 12 UK firms. The UK firms then failed to pay relevant VAT. The total VAT which went missing was £57m and Selby made a personal profit of about £1.5m.

HMRC assistant chief investigation officer Robert Gray said: "Tackling this type of crime is HMRC's top fraud priority. MTIC fraud is a deliberate attack on the VAT system, perpetrated by organised criminals operating across and beyond the EU.

"Today's sentence is a further example of HMRC's determination to bring criminals involved in this type of fraud to justice, and also vigorously pursue the recovery of their criminally derived assets."

Selby ran his business from France but company accounts were kept in the UK. Customs arrested Selby and began extradition proceedings in November 2004.

Customs has applied for a confiscation order to get hold of Selby's assets - that will be heard later. Customs estimates missing trader fraud cost the UK exchequer between £1.1bn and £1.9bn in 2004 and 2005. Such frauds usually involve computer chips or mobile phones.

HM Revenue and Customs' press release is available here. ®

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