Tayside and Central Scotland

Tax fugitive Michael Voudouri to pay back £207,000

Panorama - Michael Voudouri
Image caption Michael Voudouri fled to Cyprus after admitting a £11.6m VAT scam in 2012

A fraudster jailed for an £11.6m money laundering scam has been ordered to hand over £207,000 in crime profits.

Michael Voudouri was sentenced to 11 and a half years last year for dispersing the proceeds of a huge VAT fraud and breaching bail.

He fled from Scotland to Cyprus in 2012 after admitting cheating the taxman, but was later returned to face justice.

The Crown raised proceedings against Voudouri to seize crime profits, with a settlement now reached in the case.

Voudouri's counsel Euan Dow told the court that under its terms it was agreed that the benefit figure for his criminal conduct was just over £11,635,264.

Mr Dow said a confiscation order should be made in the sum of just over £207,339.

'Complex operation'

Advocate depute Barry Divers said the confiscation order figure represented Voudouri's "realisable assets".

Among the assets listed in the proceeds of crime action was a property in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, and a collection of designer watches.

The judge, Lord Boyd of Duncansby, ordered that payment of the sum should be made within six months.

In 2012, Voudouri, of Bridge of Allan, admitting claiming VAT on bogus transactions in what judges described as a "complex money laundering operation", moving the money out of the country into foreign bank accounts.

He set up companies in the US and the British Virgin Islands to conceal the funds, before funnelling them back to Scotland to buy a house and fund a designer clothes business in Stirling.

Speaking after the confiscation case at the High Court in Edinburgh, Anne-Marie Gordon, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: "Tax fraudsters line their pockets at the UK's expense, depriving public services of much needed funds.

"Voudouri paid the price for his VAT fraud and subsequent absconding when he was jailed for 11 and a half years.

"Today's decision is more good news for all honest taxpayers. Voudouri is now facing the consequences of his fraud with both a lengthy jail sentence and confiscation of his criminal profits."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites