The Channel logo

News

By | Kelly Fiveash 24th May 2007 23:46

MP's son guilty of VAT carousel fraud

Dad will 'contest the verdict'

The son of Labour MP Mohammed Sarwar has been convicted of an £850,000 money laundering scam involving imported mobile phones.

The Glasgow High Court heard that Athif Sarwar, 28 of Lynebank Place, Mearnskirk had handled thousands of pounds of money described as "criminal property", the BBC reports.

Sarwar was found guilty of laundering various sums of money between 24 February and 25 April 2003 while working as a cash-and-carry manager at United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd based in Maxwell Road, Glasgow.

Assistant manager of the cash and carry firm, Mansoor Khan, 43, of Giffnock, Glasgow, who had been co-accused in the case, was found not guilty of any involvement in the money laundering scam.

The money or "criminal property" was said to have been received by Sarwar who then electronically transferred the cash into the firm's business account.

The Court heard that cash was taken from the proceeds of a complex Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC), or "carousel fraud" as it is more commonly known, using mobile phones to bypass VAT payments when the goods enter the UK from Europe.

Sarwar, who had strongly disputed having any involvement in the scam, was granted bail and will be sentenced in June. His father, who is a millionaire businessman and Labour MP for Govan said he was "disappointed" by his son's conviction.

The MP, who had previously been found not guilty of trying to bribe a rival candidate in the 1997 general election, is said to be worth an estimated £16m.

"I genuinely, sincerely and passionately believe that my son has done nothing wrong. Everything was legal and above board.

"We will contest the verdict. There was no shred of evidence to convict and we will appeal against the sentence. I am certain that justice will win."

Sarwar was found guilty on two charges, one of laundering £565,000 as part of a VAT fraud scam and the second of moving £280,500 from the firm's bank account to another held by a shell company.

From 1 June this year, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will place a "reverse charge" on computer chips and mobile phones, to combat VAT fraud.

According to official figures from HMRC, carousel fraud cost British taxpayers £3bn last year. ®

comment icon Read 4 comments on this article alert Send corrections

Opinion

Alexandre Mesguich

Change is order of day as tech giants shift strategy gears
Partnership

Frank Jennings

Confused? No problem, we have 5, no 6, no 7... lots of standards

Chris Mellor

VC sequence could end not with a bang, but a whimper
Sad man stares glumly over boxed contents of desk. Image via shutterstock (Baranq)

Features

money trap conceptual illustration
Big boys snare the unwary with too-good-to-be-true deals
Angus Highland cow
Pet carriers not wanted for whitebox stampede
FBcoldstoragearray
Sorry OpenStack and Open Compute, we're not all Facebook
Gary Kovacs, CEO of AVG. Pic: World Economic Forum
Scammy download sites? Government snooping? Run of the mill for Gary Kovacs