Asian-origin smuggler told to pay $6 mn to avoid jail-term

London, Nov 13 (IANS) An Asian-origin smuggler serving jail sentence for bringing 100 million pounds (157 million dollars) worth of gold into Britain has been ordered to repay 4.3 million pounds (about 6 million dollars) of the tax he dodged, if he wants to avoid spending additional 10 years behind bars.

Chaudry Ali, 52, was jailed for nine years in 2012 for heading an international smuggling ring which took precious metals from Dubai. Using an elaborate system of couriers, he swapped bags with his fellow smugglers in Frankfurt to avoid nine million pounds in VAT because the tax is not payable within the EU, Daily Mail reported.

Chiefs at HM Revenue and Customs department branded the man a “24-carat criminal” when the scam was finally foiled two years ago.

The total resale value of the gold he brought into Britain was estimated to the tune of 100 million pounds. Images from the raid showed a laptop bag stuffed with gold jewellery including hundreds of bangles and bracelets.

His trial heard he had benefited to the tune of seven million pounds, but forensic accounting later raised that figure to nine million pounds, HMRC said.

A judge has now ruled Ali must repay half of that figure withing four months, else another 10 years will be added to his sentence.

In his order, Judge Paul Dodgson said Ali still denied his guilt – but had been “a dishonest witness who was quite prepared to lie in the face of overwhelming evidence”.

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