According to HM Revenue & Customs, the financial adviser assisted his client in reclaiming nearly £900,000 in VAT.
Mohammad Izhar Ul Haq committed the fraud by forging a bank guarantee from the Bank of America, meaning his client, who is not named, could claim a VAT repayment from HMRC. Haq is also said to have later lied to his solicitors about his whereabouts to avoid being jailed, claiming he was in Pakistan, when in fact he was in London casinos.
HMRC said, in an attempt to mitigate his involvement in the fraud, Haq lied to its investigators, claiming his fee for service was £20,000 when in fact he received over £200,000, of which £130,000 was paid into gambling accounts he held at London casinos.
As well as the five year prison sentence, Haq will also be banned from casinos for three years from his release.
In sentencing Haq His Honour Judge White said: “Your defence was a sham. The public would expect and deserve a severe sentence in this case.”
Haq was charged with cheating the Public Revenue on 31 May 2011. Shortly before a court appearance in February 2012, HMRC was advised that Haq had fallen ill while in Pakistan and was unable to return to the UK for trial. Medical certificates were submitted to the court which seemingly proved Haq was in poor health, but HMRC later sourced CCTV footage of the defendant attending a casino at the same time that he was supposedly ill in Pakistan.
Haq was subsequently arrested and remanded in custody pending his trial in September 2012. He was found guilty of the offences at Harrow Crown Court and sentenced there last Friday.