Fourteen people were arrested in dawn raids yesterday by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on suspicion of laundering the proceeds of a multi-million pound alcohol fraud.
HMRC suspects that the group was diverting non-duty paid alcohol and selling it on the UK market. The fraud is estimated to be worth around Â£40 million in evaded duty and tax. Those arrested are believed to have been instrumental in laundering the cash generated from the alcohol fraud.
Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: â€œThis is a major investigation into what we suspect is a well organised and professional attempt to launder the proceeds from a significant alcohol fraud and steal Â£40 million from the UK economy. We are committed to stamping out alcohol fraud, which drains around Â£1 billion from public finances each year, affecting public services and legitimate retailers who have to compete with the illicit market.â€
Cash totalling Â£650,000 and five lorry loads of beer and wine were seized. Computers and personal and business records were removed during property searches. Investigations continue.