2005-12-01

Intolerance & Money: A Leaf Out of The Tax Book

An international tax fraudster who cost The Inland Revenue 55_million_GBP has been jailed for 12.5_years. Mr.Ian Leaf, 51, used an array of real and bogus companies worldwide to pull off what has been called 'the largest swindle of its kind' in Britain. Mr.Leaf used the 'crimes' to fund a luxury lifestyle which included ownership of a mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva. Last month the fraudster was convicted of 13 counts of fraudulent trading between 1991 and 1996. Passing sentence at London's Southwark Crown Court, Judge Mr.David Higgins, said Mr.Leaf had been convicted of fraud 'on a truly massive scale', adding that
'It may well be without precedence, and in the pantheon of crime it ranks very highly indeed'.
The multi-layered scam featured thousands of fictitious documents, a bank registered on a small South Pacific atoll and a firm of brokers that boasted little more than an accommodation address. Using his financial acumen, and a raft of fake profits and imaginary expenses, the fraudster reaped the rewards of one tax allowance after another. From his Swiss base, Mr.Leaf bought 13 subsidiary companies from public limited companies that had significant tax liabilities, before taking fictitious loans with high interest from a fictional bank registered in the Pacific island of Nauru. The loans were also used to undertake highly profitable foreign exchange deals -- not subject to UK tax -- out of which were paid dividends. Remorseless criminal The 'tax cheat' then used the companies as vehicles to reclaim corporation tax rightly paid by the companies before he purchased them. The judge said:
'Put simply: you have, by dishonest means, deprived "The Inland Revenue" of approximately 55_million_GBP, out of which you have made a net profit of approximately 22_million_GBP.
'The whereabouts of this sum remains unknown.'
Admonishing Mr.Leaf for being 'entirely without remorse', he said Mr.Leaf's criminal activities
'Involved an intricate and sustained "web of deceit"' that '"Strike at the very heart" of the financial structure of which "social order" so heavily depends'. 'Every law abiding citizen in this country is a victim of your crimes in that you have denied the country of substantial resources,' he concluded.
'£55m fraudster gets 12 years jail ', BBC NEWS 2005/12/01 18:44:55 GMT

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is one of those crimes that actually harms no-one (despite what the article says). He tried not to pay tax, that's all! How is that so different from everyone else and what we'd all do if we could. This is not the same as taking money from the poor or in fact from anyone. We're all over taxed as it is, so i say good for Mr Leaf!!!!!

12/07/2005 12:49:00 am  

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