Seven former employees - including three former directors - of Bolton-based Aleef Garages have been jailed over tax fraud. The former directors along with six other former senior managers and former employees of the company pleaded guilty to the fraud after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.

The defendants had been charged with offences related to Conspiracy to cheat the Revenue contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. The three former directors were brothers Mustaq Hussain Patel, Iqbal Ahmed Patel (pictured), and Mubarakali Ahmed Patel – they were sentenced on November 12 to three years each in prison. Aleef Garages issued a statement saying neither it nor any entity associated with Aleef Garages had been subject to any charges by the HMRC. It said that the actual tax evaded was £1.2m, plus interest and penalty.

It stated: "The fine payable is £5m over four years and is punitive but is always greater than the tax evaded in these cases as per the benefit rules."

The company said the indictment period was from May 1998 to April 2002 and was mainly concerned with the running of the newsagent’s company which at the time merged with Aleef Garages Ltd.

For more on this story, see the December issue of Forecourt Trader.