Paramjit Bagri of Holywell jailed for excise duty fraud
A man from Flintshire has been jailed for five and a half years for his role in defrauding HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of nearly £1.8m of excise duty on alcohol.
Customs officers said Paramjit Bagri, from Holywell, was the mastermind of a gang of six men who were jailed for a total of 19 years.
Bagri, 45, admitted conspiring to evade duty between 2007 and 2008.
He was also sentenced to three and a half years jail for tobacco duty fraud.
The two sentences will run concurrently.
The HMRC said Bagri bought alcohol from legitimate bonded warehouses under the pretence of shipping it to the continent.
But the alcohol did not leave the UK and it was sold in north west England, the Midlands and Scotland.
Mohammed Vaqas, Nadim Iqbal and Baldeep Singh Tahkar also admitted conspiring to evade duty.
Iqbal, 37, from Oldham, was jailed for 21 months on 8 July for this part in the fraud, said HMRC.
Officials said Vaqas, 28, from Rochdale, was sentenced to a 51 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and 180 hours unpaid community work on 8 July. He also has to pay £1,500 in costs.
Tahkar, from Billingham, near Stockton on Tees, was jailed for 16 months on 14 July.
Richard Gerrard Ellis, 47, from Manchester, and Mohammed Tariq, 46, from Scotland, were found guilty at Manchester Crown Court in June. Ellis and Tariq were jailed for five years on 8 July, according to HMRC.
Following Bagri's sentencing, Mike O'Grady, assistant director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: "These men diverted large numbers of consignments of alcohol from their intended legitimate destinations thereby avoiding paying UK duty and taxes.
"It was a very calculated attempt to defraud the Crown and to personally profit from the illegal trade."