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Crooked shopkeeper ordered to pay back £61,000

John Wood ·
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A fraudster who was jailed for selling illegal cigarettes from his Wolverhampton shop has been told to pay back £61,000 or face an additional year behind bars.

Arkani Muradi, 37, of Highfield Road, Birmingham, was caught hiding almost 400,000 cigarettes behind false walls, under floorboards, beneath a fridge and in a hole in a wall, by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators in March, 2015.

He was jailed in June 2017 for two years and two months for evading £58,675 in tax, and has now been ordered to pay back £61,022 within three months or he will face another year in jail and still owe the money when released.

During the investigation Muradi claimed to be a sales assistant and not the owner of his Euro Shop, in New Hampton Road West, Wolverhampton. He also gave a false name when officers raided his shop and a storage unit he had hired using an alias.

HMRC officers, working with Trading Standards, also recovered 36 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco and 195 bottles of alcohol.

Debbie Porter, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Muradi tried to conceal illegal cigarettes in every possible hiding place of his shop then desperately tried to lie his way out. This case should serve as a warning to others involved in the illegal cigarette trade.

“The trade in illicit cigarettes takes funding away from essential public services, undermines legitimate traders and often funds further organised crime. I would urge anyone with any information about this type of criminality to contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788887.”

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 18 February 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East129.2257.90129.92120.18
East Midlands128.8581.15131.08119.59
London129.4365.90132.55119.95
North East127.76131.63117.87
North West128.6357.70132.07118.91
Northern Ireland127.32125.70118.52
Scotland128.94129.47118.93
South East129.7257.70130.97120.45
South West129.1067.90129.70120.06
Wales128.23130.05118.68
West Midlands128.68132.84119.37
Yorkshire & Humber128.22130.47118.63

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