20 arrests in suspected £50m drink duty fraud

07 December, 2010

HM Revenue & Customs investigators have made 20 arrests in a suspected £50 million excise duty and VAT fraud.

It said the case involved “the abuse of the international bonded warehouses system”.

Co-ordinated raids were carried at this morning on 12 commercial and 17 domestic premises across south east England and the Midlands.

Searches were also made at premises in Germany.

HMRC said it was suspected that alcohol was bought duty-free and claimed to be destined for EU markets but was smuggled back into the UK market without duty being paid.

Spokesman Bob Gaiger said: “Over 200 HMRC officers, supported by the police, took part in today’s operations.

“The operation spanned a number of counties and led to the arrest of 20 people.

“Our investigations are continuing.”

Arrests were made in Berkshire, Birmingham, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, London E6 and E17, Surrey, Sussex,




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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