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1.7 million Payback Time for West London Gangmaster

1.7 million Payback Time for West London Gangmaster

A formerly respected community leader from West London, jailed for six years in 2008 for fraud, has been ordered to re-pay 1.7million to the public purse.

Mazhar Hayat Raja was found guilty of pocketing tax and National Insurance he should have deducted from his employees wages and paid to HM Revenue & Customs. He ran a series of companies supplying labour to a number of different industries. The fraud netted him at least 3 million over a ten-year period.

Robert Alder, Assistant Director for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said:
Tackling fraud is one of our top priorities. We have a duty to stop money being diverted and stolen from the nation in what are often large scale and ruthless attacks on the tax system. This case is a result of an in-depth investigation by dedicated officers, who work tirelessly and diligently, against those intent on stealing from the public purse. We are committed to bringing the criminals responsible for this form of crime to justice and deny them from being able to retain and enjoy the proceeds of their crimes.

During the trial it was shown Raja lied throughout an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs officers and completed false statements of his personal assets. Investigators discovered that Raja supplied labour to several agencies since the early 1990's, in the engineering and electronics industries, that had been 'hidden' behind an empire of numerous companies that he secretly controlled. These companies were deliberately dissolved after Raja funded his luxurious lifestyle by effectively pocketing the PAYE tax and National Insurance deducted from his employees.

The court also heard how Raja had supplied labour to businesses serving Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the catering and cleaning sectors. This enterprise grew until he was supplying hundreds of people each week. Although he made PAYE returns for these companies, they were falsified to conceal the true amounts which should have been paid to HMRC. He also set up a number of bank accounts in the names of his wife and other relatives to conceal the hundreds of thousands of pounds he had extracted from the companies.

At the hearing a Confiscation Order was made against Raja to re-pay 1.7 million by 5 October 2009, or face a further six years in prison.
Rajas worldwide assets, estimated at 1.7 million, have been restrained by HMRC including bank accounts and investments and properties of which he has a financial interest in London, Scotland and Lahore, Pakistan.

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