Mil­lion­aire tax fraud­ster jailed af­ter 11 years on run abroad

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Andy Richards News Ed­i­tor

AMULTI-MIL­LION­AIRE is fi­nally be­hind bars – af­ter be­com­ing one of the UK’s most wanted tax fugi­tives.

Hus­sain Asad Cho­han, from Mose­ley, in Birm­ing­ham, fled the coun­try while stand­ing trial for his role in tobacco smug­gling fraud in 2006.

He spent more than 11 years on the run and owes more than £53 mil­lion.

But the 49-year-old is fi­nally be­hind bars af­ter he was caught in Canada.

Cho­han was ex­tra­dited by the HM Revenue and Cus­toms (HMRC) Of­fender En­force­ment Team, with the as­sis­tance of the Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice (RCMP) and Interpol.

He is now be­hind bars be­gin­ning a 12-year prison sen­tence and must re­pay more than £53 mil­lion. The 49-year-old fled to Pak­istan, Dubai and fi­nally Canada, where he un­der a new iden­tity.

He orig­i­nally es­caped to La­hore, Pak­istan, in 2006 when he was on trial for smug­gling 2.25 tonnes of il­le­gal hand-rolling tobacco, worth £750,000 in evaded duty, into the UK in 2000.

He was con­victed and sen­tenced to five years in prison in his ab­sence. Cho­han was also linked to a £185 mil­lion VAT fraud in­volv­ing phony com­pa­nies set up to fraud­u­lently re­claim VAT by fak­ing the im­port and ex­port of mo­bile phones and mi­crochips.

Ev­i­dence was pre­sented to a con­fis­ca­tion hear­ing in De­cem­ber 2006 of Cho­han’s in­volve­ment in the VAT fraud and the tobacco smug­gling.

The court ruled that Cho­han’s lifestyle was funded by crime and or­dered him to re­pay £28.6 mil­lion within three months.

Cho­han did not pay up so will serve an extra seven years in prison. lived

His debt, plus in­ter­est to­talling more than £24 mil­lion, re­mains and in­creases by more than £6,000 a day un­til paid.

Si­mon York, di­rec­tor of the Fraud In­ves­ti­ga­tion Ser­vice, at HMRC, said: “Cho­han thought he could avoid prison by flee­ing the coun­try and ran away to set up a new life for him­self.

“But he couldn’t run for­ever and his crim­i­nal past even­tu­ally caught up with him.

“Run­ning away from tax crime isn’t an op­tion. We will re­lent­lessly pur­sue fugi­tives who, like Cho­han, think they can avoid pay­ing for their crime. Our mes­sage is clear – no­body is be­yond our reach.

“Track­ing down fugi­tives like Cho­han demon­strates how far HMRC’s work with law en­force­ment stretches across the globe.

“Cho­han has been brought back to face jus­tice thanks to the work done here in the UK and abroad par­tic­u­larly by the Cana­dian Moun­ties.”

Cho­han is also be­lieved to have lived in the Jumeirah area of Dubai, reg­u­larly trav­el­ling be­tween Pak­istan and Dubai from 2011 to 2013, be­fore set­tling in Ot­tawa, Canada.

Cho­han was iden­ti­fied liv­ing un­der the false iden­tity, Muham­mad Afzal Khan, in Ot­tawa, and was tracked down by HMRC and the Canada Border Ser­vices Agency.

RCMP ar­rested Cho­han at Toronto air­port as he re­turned to Canada from a trip to the United Arab Emi­rates in Septem­ber 2016.

He was placed on re­mand at a cor­rec­tional cen­tre in Lind­say, On­tario, be­fore be­ing flown back to the UK.

He ar­rived back in the UK on June 1 ac­com­pa­nied by HMRC of­fi­cers be­fore be­ing taken to Birm­ing­ham Crown Court where his sen­tence was con­firmed.

> Hus­sain Asad Cho­han

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