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Five tax fraudsters who were part of a crime group involved in one of the UK’s biggest tax frauds have been ordered to repay £20 million, or face more time behind bars and still owe the money.
Michael Richards and Jonathan Anwyl, both of East Sussex, Dubai-based Robert Gold, Rodney Whiston-Dew from London and Evdoros Chrysanthos Demetriou from Oxford were all jailed for more than 43 years in 2017 in one of UK's biggest tax crimes worth £107.9 million.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found the group had devised a fake eco-investment scheme as a tax break for wealthy investors.
At the Old Bailey on 14 October and Southwark Crown Court on 13 December 2019, they were ordered to pay a combined total of £20 million or serve a further 39 years in prison.
The HMRC noted that if further assets are identified in the future for any of the convicted men, they could also be confiscated.
“This was a carefully-planned and complex attack on the tax system and now the men have to pay up or spend even more time in prison, and still owe the money," said Martin Lynagh, assistant director of fraud investigation service, HMRC.
“Our actions don’t stop once someone is convicted, we will look to reclaim the stolen money, cash that should be funding vital public services in the UK.”
The five men were sentenced in November 2017, to a total of 43-and-a-half years in jail, after HMRC investigators found they lured wealthy individuals to invest in Carbon Emission Reduction Certificates, which help countries hit environmental emissions targets set by the United Nations.
However, HMRC noted that the money was actually diverted to purchase properties in the UK and Dubai, none of which was declared to HMRC.
Gold may need to sell a property in Dubai to settle his £2.6 million bill, while Anwyl cashed in his pension fund to help pay off his £250,000 order. Anwyl has paid his order and Gold has until late January 2020 to pay up or face an extra jail term.
Richards and Whiston-Dew have properties in West Sussex and South-West London that they may need to sell to pay off their respective £9.9 million and £3 million orders.
The sixth member of the crime group, Malcolm Gold, previously of Hertfordshire, was sentenced to 20 months in prison in January 2017. He was subject to a confiscation order on 5 October 2017 for £4,711, which was the amount of assets he had available at the time. The order was paid on 27 October 2017.