Tobacco fraudster jailed after three years on the run
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.