A gold smuggling jeweller who evaded over £7 million of VAT has been put behind bars for nine years.
Following an international investigation, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) discovered Chaudry Ali was buying gold in Dubai and bringing it to the UK via Frankfurt to avoid VAT payments over a two-year period.
Andrew Sackey, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said: ‘Chaudry Ali was a 24-carat criminal. He systematically evaded millions of pounds of VAT in the hope of lining his pockets. Our officers worked tirelessly to catch him, and today’s sentence is the result of that hard work.’
HMRC said Ali had two couriers working for him. They bought large amounts of gold jewellery in Dubai then fly to Frankfurt. They would meet Ali in an airside lounge where they would swap cases.
Ali would fly back to the UK passing through the EU entry channel at UK arrivals. HMRC said he carried paperwork stating that he was a legitimate VAT-registered jewellery trader in case he was stopped at customs.
Goods traded between EU countries are not subject to VAT, so by appearing to have sourced the gold in Frankfurt, Ali would have no tax to pay.