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£16.25million confiscation order

£16.25million confiscation order

LONDON. September 19, 2007/3mnewswire.org/- Ian Leaf who was convicted of cheating the Inland Revenue of £54 million in taxes has been ordered to pay £16.25 million at Southwark Crown Court as a result of a successful confiscation application.

The confiscation hearing concludes an eight year investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which resulted in a 10 year jail sentence for Leaf.

Robert Alder, HMRC, Head of Restraint and Confiscation said:

"Our colleagues in the Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) will whenever appropriate pursue confiscation orders against those like Mr. Leaf who attempt to line their pockets by depriving the country's essential services of vital resources. Confiscation orders ensure that such criminals are deprived of the financial advantages they seek to gain over the vast majority of honest people."

Leaf's fraud was highly complex and centred on a company purchase scheme which involved the purchase of thirteen UK Subsidiary companies which were subject to UK tax. The companies were used solely for fraudulent purposes. Leaf was convicted of thirteen charges of fraudulent trading on 21 November 2005.

1. Ian Andrew Leaf, DOB 29/11/53, a British national, resided in Switzerland since 1987. Last known address: Chalet Ivouette, CH1936, Verbier, Switzerland

2. Leaf was found guilty of 13 counts of fraudulent trading, contrary to section 458 of the Companies Act 1985: one count for each of the 13 companies acquired using this particular scheme. The offence of fraudulent trading requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant was knowingly carrying on a business for fraudulent purposes.

3. When purchased by Leaf, as well as outstanding tax liabilities from past profits, the companies held enough cash to pay the tax owed. Rather than using the money to pay the tax Leaf created fictitious documents from a bank registered in the Pacific island of Nauru which was controlled by him and appeared to show that the companies had borrowed huge sums of money. The resulting fabricated interest payments were offset against tax. It was also falsely claimed that these loans were used to undertake massively profitable foreign exchange deals which were not subject to UK tax out of which were paid dividends. Leaf then falsely used these to reclaim corporation tax rightly paid by the companies before he purchased them.

4. In respect of the 13 companies included in the indictment the loss of tax exceeded £54 million with a further £22 million reclaimed but not repaid by the Inland Revenue to Leaf.

5. RCPO was created by Royal Assent on 18 April 2005. An independent prosecuting authority, RCPO reports directly to the Attorney General, and is responsible for prosecuting some of the largest drug and fraud cases in the UK.


20.9.07 23:13

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