East Anglia: Twenty arrests in dawn raids

TWENTY men have been arrested in an estimated �50 million excise duty and VAT fraud linked to the abuse of the international bonded warehouse system.

The men were arrested by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) criminal investigators during co-ordinated raids on 12 commercial and 17 domestic premises across the South East and the Midlands this morning.

Coordinated searches are also being undertaken in Germany.

It is suspected that alcohol, bought duty free and said to be destined for markets in the European Union, was smuggled back onto the UK market without the appropriate payment of excise duty and VAT.

Bob Gaiger, HMRC spokesman said: “Criminal investigators have uncovered a suspected multi-million pound excise duty and VAT fraud.

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“Over 200 HMRC officers, supported by the police, took part in today’s operation. The operation spanned a number of counties and led to the arrest of twenty people. Our investigations are continuing.”

The twenty men are currently being interviewed by HMRC officers and investigations are continuing.

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