A man who once donated £34,000 to the Crimestoppers charity has been convicted for his part in a VAT fraud worth £250 million.
Nasir Khan was jailed at Southwark Crown Court for taking part in a conspiracy involving the supposed import and export of mobile phones, following a 10-year investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Khan, whose assets of £15 million were restrained by the court, received nine years for money-laundering. Fourteen co-conspirators had been given a total of almost 90 years in previous trials for their part in the so-called missing trader scam.
The court heard that in July 2003, after a long investigation, HMRC officers carried out a series of coordinated arrests across the UK which resulted in the seizure of over half a million documents and 130 computer hard drives.
Analysis of them showed transaction chains, contacts between the defendants and how the organisation was carrying out fraudulent deals.
Offshore bank accounts were identified showing funds being transferred from the UK and EU into accounts in Hong Kong, Pakistan and Dubai. The fraud was carried out over a two year period from June 2001 to July 2003.
Khan used the profits to buy luxury properties in London and Spain and in 2008, using an alias, even donated £34,000 to Crimestoppers.
The level of profits were too great for you to resist, sentencing Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told Khan.
You had tried to paint yourself as a generous provider to charities and as a role model -- in truth, you were nothing of the kind. You were close to the heart of the fraud and benefited greatly from it.
In a press statement, Chris Martin, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: The scale of this operation was unprecedented when we carried out initial raids in 2003.
We had 350 officers visiting around 100 premises across the UK and Spain, which led to the arrest of 42 people.
He added: This sends a clear signal to anyone involved or considering becoming involved in VAT fraud that the crime is serious and so are the penalties.
(Created by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Steve Addison)