HMRC names and shames tax fugitives
One of the UK's top 20 most wanted tax criminal fugitives has been captured, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). But the organisation said today that 19 other tax evaders were still wanted - and it added a further 10 to the list.
Anthony Judge, who was wanted in connection for the part he played in a tax fraud that exceeded £350,000 and had been on the run for a decade, was apprehended at Heathrow Airport last month as he tried to enter the UK on a forged passport.
Judge is the first to be captured in the last year, although a second was captured in May 2013, though he was not on HMRC's original most wanted gallery of 20 tax fugitives.
John Nugent, who fraudulently reclaimed more than £22 million in duty and VAT, was caught in the US in May, after the American authorities saw HMRC's most wanted list.
The list, which has just been updated to include 30 tax fugitives, shows those individual being chased for crimes including VAT fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. Their crimes are said to have cost the taxpayer up to £10 million.
HMRC said the rogues' gallery has been viewed over 1.5 million times and members of the public have provided information as to the whereabouts of 17 of the 20 named on the original list.
Chancellor George Osborne said: "Our message is clear; tax fraud and evasion is illegal and will not be tolerated. Millions of hard-working people pay their taxes and it is they who are being defrauded. The government has stepped up HMRC's enforcement activities to enable them to pursue tax cheats relentlessly around the world."
One of those who has just been added to the expanded list of 30 most wanted is Michael George Voudouri, who pleaded guilty at Glasgow high court for money laundering and VAT fraud but disappeared before sentencing. Voudouri is thought to be hiding in Cyprus, HMRC said.
To view the most wanted list and see if you recognise any of the tax fugitives, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmrcgovuk/sets/72157631087785530/
Invented by a Frenchman in 1954 and ironically introduced in the UK on 1 April 1973, VAT is an indirect tax levied on the value added in the production of goods and services, from primary production to final consumption and is paid by the buyer. Its levying is complex, with a number of exemptions and exclusions. For example, in the UK, VAT is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes and the non-VAT status of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes was challenged in a UK court case to determine whether Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit. The judge ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake, McVitie’s won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.