The Channel logo


By | John Oates 9th January 2007 10:34

Record sentence for VAT fraudster

15 years

The man behind a £54m VAT fraud gang has been sentenced to 15 years in prison - the longest ever UK sentence for such a crime.

Emmanuel Hening, who has dual French and Belgian nationality, was found guilty on three counts of missing trader fraud at Worcester Crown Court. He was extradited from France in December 2005.

The judge described 33 year old Hening, who is based in Luxembourg, as the "guiding hand" behind the eight person gang which has received sentences totalling 38.5 years. A 54 year old woman from Birmingham is still awaiting sentence.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said in a statement: "The phones were purportedly imported into the UK VAT-free by various companies set up by Hening. He then sold the phones on paper charging VAT that was never paid over to HMRC. These companies then went 'missing'. The phones were then 'sold' down the line to various 'buffer' traders before they were exported back to Hening. Each company made an agreed profit margin on the phones. The companies were based in the West Midlands, Lancashire and the Isle of Man."

Customs began investigating in 2000 and tracked links between companies in France, Luxembourg and the UK.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has begun proceedings to confiscate the assets and earnings made by the gang.

The Customs' press release is here.®

alert Send corrections


George Osborne, photo: HM Treasury
shutterstock_183801788_container ship

Chris Mellor

The SAN growth glory days are well and truly over, so where next?

Tom Whipp

Insurance industry insider tells all
Crypto fingers


Michael Dell. Pic by Joi Ito
Cool Texas dude is just your average billionaire
The Seeing Eye by Valerie Everett, Flickr, CC2.0
Follow the money – or, at least, our projections
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic
The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.