A company director, who was jailed for smuggling over three tonnes of tobacco disguised as scented pot pourri through Manchester airport, has been ordered to repay £34,500 in stolen tax.
Mohammed Shazed Jameel was ordered to repay the money following a financial investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
HMRC traced 33 illegal freight consignments back to Jameel, which added up to over three tonnes of tobacco. He was ordered to repay £34,500 within three months or face a compulsory default jail sentence of an additional two years. Jameel had been jailed previously for 38 months on 17 April 2015 at Manchester Crown Court for the smuggling offences.
Two other men convicted with Jameel received confiscation orders for their involvement earlier in July. Usman Mohammed Butt received a confiscation order for £7,212 payable within three months or he will go to jail for six months. Mohammad Jamil Mansha received a confiscation order of £6,000 payable within three months or he will go to jail for six months.
Previously in April 2015, Butt and Mansha were sentenced to 200 hours unpaid community service for their roles in the crime.
Zoe Ellerbeck, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “Jameel and his accomplices made multiple attempts to smuggle shisha tobacco products into the UK to evade excise duty and VAT. We are determined to track down tax evasion and recover stolen taxes.
“Tobacco fraud costs honest taxpayers more than £2.1bn a year and seriously damages local, honest businesses. Shopkeepers, or any businesses, that trade in illegal goods will be investigated and subject to civil and criminal proceedings. Anyone with information about suspicious tobacco sales or smuggling should contact the Customs’ Hotline on 0800 595000.”