THREE platinum fraudsters from Blackburn have been ‘named and shamed’ as part of a national online campaign by tax bosses.
More than 30 of the UK’s top tax cheats of 2012 have been singled out by HM Revenue and Customs on the social network Flickr.
And the rogues gallery includes Mohammed Shabir Karim and brothers Imran and Kamran Bhatti, who were jailed for a total of 17 years after flying in weekly consignments of platinum from Italy without paying the appropriate VAT levys.
Launching the campaign, Treasury Secretary David Gauke said: “The Government is committed to closing in on tax evaders.
“Most people play by the rules and pay what they owe, but HMRC is cracking down on those who don’t.
“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.”
Tax chiefs have been stung into action after criticism over the number of major firms avoiding paying millions in corporation tax – or being ‘let off’ their responsibilities after striking deals with senior HMRC officials.
Karim and the Bhattis hired luxury cars to transport the platinum to Regal Metals and KB Jewellers in Blackburn, where the precious metal was sold on before the companies were folded, in a bid to hide the asset’s value.
Each of the trio was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud HMRC. Karim, of Billinge End Road, was jailed for seven years and Imran Bhatti, of Brooklands Terrace and Kamran Bhatti, of Churchill Road, for five years apiece. All three were also banned from being company directors – Karim for eight years and the Bhattis for four years each.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the platinum was brought into the country VAT-free and then sold on to legitimate customers with the tax added. The trio then pocketed the difference.