Tax Fraud- Daily Record 22/05/2014
Fugitive from £10m tax fraud Michael Voudouri flying home to face justice after fleeing the country to escape jail for VAT scam
- By Charlie Gall
MILLIONAIRE Voudouri fled the country in 2012 to escape a jail sentence for a massive VAT scam that cost the taxpayer more than £10million.
SCOTLAND’S most wanted fraudster was flying home to face the music last night.
Millionaire Michael Voudouri fled the country in 2012 to escape a jail sentence for a massive VAT scam that cost the taxpayer more than £10million.
He hid in Turkish northern Cyprus, but was tracked down and exposed by our sister paper The Sunday Mail.
In January this year, local police arrested him for carrying a fake passport.
He has been in jail ever since. And yesterday, his lawyer in Scotland confirmed he was about to board a plane of his own free will and come home – to a police cell.
Aamer Anwar said: “Mr Voudouri will return to Scotland in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“He is glad to be coming home.”
Anwar said Voudouri asked him several weeks ago to approach Scotland’s most senior prosecutor, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, about arrangements for his return.
The charges Voudouri faced in northern Cyprus were dropped on Monday, and he agreed to fly home.
Anwar said: “He will appear at the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday.
“He will then appear on a petition warrant for a failure to appear at court in November 2012.”
Anwar added that Voudouri, 46, will also face a new charge at Glasgow Sheriff Court next week. He declined to give details.
Voudouri laundered millions of pounds stolen by a Glasgow computer firm called Q-Tech in what’s known as a carousel fraud.
TAX FRAUD- HOW?
Crooks using the scam import goods VAT-free, then sell them and charge VAT. They keep the cash they owe the taxman and disappear.
Voudouri stashed Q-Tech dirty money in accounts in Cyprus, Greece and Switzerland.
He was originally charged with laundering the full amount stolen from Tax Fraud – £48.3million.
But he struck a deal with prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty to cheating the public purse out of £10.3million.
Voudouri was due to be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow in November 2012, but jumped bail and vanished.
In February last year, his family moved out of his £2million Scots mansion and packed up his belongings for shipping overseas.
Voudouri’s escape was an embarrassment for the Crown.
His family boasted on Facebook before the sentencing date that they were leaving the country, and former senior detective Graeme Pearson described the case as a “failure of intelligence”.
TAX FRAUD- TOP TEN
Voudouri was the highest-ranked Scot on a list of Britain’s most wanted for Tax Fraud released by Chancellor George Osborne last August.
The British authorities told police in northern Cyprus he was on their territory. It’s thought he was arrested after the UK lobbied the Turkish government.
Voudouri was jailed for four years in 2004 after admitting a £3million VAT Tax Fraud, but was suspected of stealing 10 times that amount.