A convicted VAT fraudster has been sentenced to an extra nine years in jail for failing to repay £40 million of his criminal profits. Emmanuel Hening, a dual French/Belgian national, was jailed for 15 years in 2006 for masterminding a £54 million ‘missing trader’ or ‘carousel’ mobile phone fraud. He was said to be behind a trail of businesses that claimed to be importing phones without paying VAT, then sold the phones at VAT-inclusive prices before disappearing. The VAT was never paid to HM Revenue & Customs.
Despite receiving this additional sentence, Emmanuel Hening still owes the money and criminal investigators from HMRC are actively pursuing its return. The original investigation involved two separate criminal trials and the conviction of seven men and one woman who were sentenced to a total of 40 years in prison.
Richard Meadows, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said “We are determined to restore this money to the nation’s finances, in what is one of the largest confiscation orders ever gained. The additional nine year jail term given to Hening sends the strongest warning yet to criminals that they cannot hide, even in prison, from our actions to seek further justice. Working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, we will continue our efforts to reclaim his criminal profits. This was organised fraud on a massive scale by criminals intent on making huge profits at the expense of the British taxpayer.”