Tobacco fraud­ster jailed af­ter three years on the run

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A TOBACCO fraud­ster who spent more than three years on the run is fi­nally be­hind bars af­ter he was ar­rested at Heathrow Air­port while at­tempt­ing to en­ter the coun­try.

Mbarak Gowie, 50, for­merly of Oak­ing­ton Av­enue, Wem­b­ley, was sen­tenced in his ab­sence to five years im­pris­on­ment in 2013 for evad­ing al­most £500,000 in duty and tax on tobacco.

He had set up a tobacco fac­tory but failed to ap­ply for a li­cence to man­u­fac­ture or store shisha tobacco.

HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms (HMRC) in­ves­ti­ga­tors un­cov­ered the fraud af­ter of­fi­cers in­ter­cepted pack­ages of 4,904kgs of tobacco leaf that had ar­rived from Pak­istan in 2011.

They iden­ti­fied fur­ther im­porta- tions and pur­chases of in­gre­di­ents needed to man­u­fac­ture shisha tobacco.

Since his re­turn to the UK, Gowie told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he left the UK to visit a sup­plier in Egypt to ob­tain doc­u­ments re­quired in his de­fence.

He fled to France, then Is­tan­bul and is be­lieved to have set­tled in Le­banon.

Mbarak Gowie

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