From the UK to Dubai: On the trail of the "fraud of the century"

From the UK to Dubai: On the trail of the "fraud of the century"

Madlen Davies , Ben Stockton , Ferdinand Moeck |
June 9, 2019

From the UK to Dubai: On the trail of the "fraud of the century"

A British fraudster who stole millions of euros of taxpayers’ money had links to a network based in north west England suspected of large scale criminal activity for more than two decades.

Leaked documents reveal Imran Yakub Ahmed, 45, from Preston, who now lives a life of luxury in Dubai, was under investigation by the UK authorities as early as 1998 over concerns about his links with members of the suspected network. A decade later he would go on to be involved in what has been described as “the fraud of the century”.

He was convicted by an Italian court in 2017 for his participation in a criminal conspiracy to steal VAT.

The network was based in the north west of England and was under investigation for years. Fraud investigators were concerned about a “highly-organised and sophisticated group” suspected of running large tax scams in the UK. Secret MI5 files raised concerns that some of the money might have ended up in the hands of terrorists though it is not suggested members of the ring had knowledge of this.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has worked with the Sunday Times, the German non-profit Correctiv and 35 European newsrooms to review thousands of leaked documents from HMRC and prosecutors from across Europe, in a project called Grand Theft Europe.

The files reveal how investigators concluded that individuals had stolen vast sums of taxpayers’ money through a series of frauds across Europe.

Ahmed and another Preston man, Mohsin Salya, 40, are detailed in these files. They were both convicted for separate conspiracies to steal hundreds of millions from European tax authorities in the space of just two years.

Credit by - TBIJ

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