20/10/2006

NI men arrested in nationwide fuel fraud operation

Police and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers have arrested three Northern Ireland men during a major UK operation targeting multi-million pound fraud.

11-people from addresses across the UK were arrested in connection with suspected oils fraud estimated to be in the region of £10 million.

The organised criminal fraud involved the wholesale trading of hydrocarbon oils and associated money laundering.

Over 100 HMRC criminal investigators, supported by officers from several police forces were involved in the operation, and search warrants were executed at business and domestic addresses in Londonderry, Armagh, North London, Cheshire and Essex.

Peter Hollier, HMRC Criminal Investigations, said: "Organised criminals are attacking the tax system in many different ways with the aim of stealing huge amounts of revenue. Yesterday's operation, yet another large undertaking by HMRC, is part of a large-scale criminal investigation into oils related frauds that may run to millions of pounds over several years. We are committed to tackling this type of fraud and to showing the criminals behind it, wherever they operate in the UK, that there are no safe havens.

"This case concerns the purchasing of duty rebated gas oil and kerosene from legitimate suppliers by the manipulation of the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils Scheme, to launder and / or mix the rebated oil for illegal use in road vehicles. Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to fraud should call Customs Confidential on 0800 59 5000."

(EF)


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