Luxury car VAT fraudster must repay £2 million or face 10 years behind bars

12/09/2017 News Team

A jailed luxury car dealer, who built a property empire with profits from a VAT scam involving Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercedes, must repay £2 million.

Sarju Popat, 51, from London, was jailed for five-and-a-half years for fraudulently claiming back millions of pounds of tax on car sales between 2009 and 2011 after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

He has now been ordered to repay £2 million of stolen tax after HMRC found he used his criminal cash to buy properties in London’s Cricklewood, Hatch End and Muswell Hill.

Mr Popat faces selling the properties to repay the money he stole within three months or face another 10 years in prison and still owe the money.

Nicol Sheppard, acting assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “[Mr] Popat is being stripped of everything his crimes bought him. We left no stone unturned in picking apart his finances and identifying his assets.

“We will not allow tax fraudsters like Popat to keep the money they steal from the public purse.”

The fraud involved Mr Popat instructing Manoj Vyas, of London, and his brother Paresh Vyas, of Hertfordshire, to supply a particular make and model of car.

The brothers would sell the luxury second-hand car to Popat and charge VAT but not pay the full amount to HMRC.

The VAT fraud allowed Mr Popat to export the car at below market value to an associate in Malaysia.

All three men were convicted of cheating the public revenue after a six-week trial in 2015. Manoj Vyas was jailed for four years while Paresh Vyas was sentenced to five years in prison.

In June this year, Manoj Vyas was ordered to repay £91,584.26. His brother Paresh was ordered to repay a nominal sum of £1 due to a lack of assets but HMRC can apply for a further confiscation if comes into assets in the future.

Mr Popat was ordered to repay £2 million within three months at St Albans Crown Court on 4 September 2017.

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