Four sentenced in Crown Court over film industry tax fraud

by Redmans Solicitors on August 5, 2013

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The Criminal Prosecution Service has reported that four persons have been sentenced in a complex fraud case relating to the taxation of Bollywood films.

Mr Anish Anand, Mr Amit Kumar, Mr Sanjeev Mirajkar and Afsana Karim embarked on the complex fraud in 2007. The gang members involved in the fraud set up a number of businesses with the express purpose of defrauding HM Revenue and Customs by falsifying the making of big-budget movies and then reclaiming VAT and film tax credits on the phantom productions.

The gang of four created a number of sham productions – one of which was about a dog called Billy who escapes from London Zoo and goes on a voyage of self-discovery – and fabricated documents which showed that they had spent millions on developing the productions. They were able to claim back £4.4 million from HM Revenue and Customs before the fraud was discovered and attempted to claim back another £1.7 million but were stopped from doing so. A police investigation was started into the matter and the four were charged with cheating the public revenue. A prosecution subsequently commenced and the four were sentenced to prison sentences of various lengths at the Croydon Crown Court on 22 July 2013.

A specialist fraud lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service commented on the sentencing: “Had this fraud not been detected by HM Revenue and Customs, it would have cost them nearly £7m. This was clearly a very significant attack on the public purse and on a system designed to support and promote the UK film industry. The case demonstrates that even the most sophisticated frauds will not go undetected and complexity is no barrier to justice. The CPS is committed to supporting HMRC’s efforts to clamp down on those who cost the country billions in lost revenue.”

Criminal defence solicitors for the four defendants do not appear to have commented on the sentencing.

The Coventry Observer has subsequently reported that Mr Anish Anand has gone “on the run” and is being sought by the police.

David Margree, Assistant Director of HM Revenue and Customs issued a press release stating: “This gang defrauded the taxpayer of a substantial amount of money. The majority of the payments obtained through this fraud were sent offshore, to Dubai, Luxembourg and India. We are keen to establish the location of Anish Anand, who has tried to cheat justice by absconding.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors offering compromise agreement legal advice to employers and employees

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