Britain's tax agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), has named and shamed the country's top tax-cheats of 2012. In a dramatic move designed to deter potential tax-dodgers, HMRC has released photographs of the 32 criminals, who have been sentenced to a combined total of 155 years and 10 months behind bars, on its "flickr" site.
"Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don't," David Gauke, a Treasury minister, said. "We hope that publishing these pictures will help get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future."
Among those whose details have been published is Davinder Singh Dhaliwal, part of a four member gang, jailed for a collective total of 21 years and three months "for one of the biggest ever alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK". Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, Ranjot Singh Chahal and Navdeep Singh Gill were sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison for pretending to trade European Union carbon emission allowances in order to claim £38 million VAT. Murugasan Natarajan, a garlic smuggler, was sentenced to six years for evading around £2 million in customs duty while importing Chinese garlic. Chaudray Ali, a jeweller, who evaded more than £7million VAT by smuggling gold into the UK was jailed for nine years. Mohammed Shabir Karim, Imran Bhatti and Kamran Bhatti were among a four member gang sentenced to a collective total of 22 years and 6 months behind bars for evading over £4.5 million in VAT due on platinum trading. The unhappy distinction of being awarded the single longest jail sentence has gone to Dilawar Ravjani who has been incarcerated for 17 years for "carousel fraud". Ravjani was the ringleader of a gang which included another six members. Collectively, the gang has been jailed for a total of 66 years and 5 months.
The roll call of tax criminals has been facilitated by new legislation introduced in April 2010 allowing HMRC to publish the details of people or companies caught deliberately evading more than £25,000.