Tobacco gang sentenced after thousands of cigs found in Oldham
Reporter: Jon Chubb
Date published: 05 April 2019
Thousand of cigarettes and illegal tobacco were seized in the operation
Araz Rasul, 38, from Gloucester, was being driven in an uninsured car on the M5 in May 2016 when it was stopped by police. Officers found 147.50kg of illegal tobacco on the back seat of the car worth £30,000 in lost duty and taxes. The car and tobacco were seized and the matter was referred to HMRC to investigate.
HMRC officers tracked down the vehicle’s owner, Dana Kadir, 42, from Runcorn, and on 29 September 2016, they discovered 112.20kg of tobacco and 68,300 cigarettes in two vans parked outside his former home in Oldham, taking the total evasion to more than £73,000.
Fingerprints of Soleman Hossein, 36, from Rochdale, were found inside both vans and forensic examination of the tobacco discovered in the car also revealed the fingerprints of Kheder Howkar Hasan, 31, from Gloucester.
Tracey Noon, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“These men contrived to evade paying duty which is money needed to fund public services. The amount they failed to pay is the equivalent of the starting salary for three nurses in Gloucester.
“Cheating the system undercuts legitimate tobacco traders who play by the rules, and I urge anyone with information about tax fraud to report it to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
The men were arrested and charged with the fraudulent evasion of excise duty.
Rasul and Hasan pleaded guilty at Gloucester Crown Court on 29 November 2018, while Kadir and Hossein were found guilty.
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