By Alex Glenn • 08 February 2021 • 8:37
HMRC's 'Most Wanted' Tax Fugitive Jailed Credit: Twitter
HMRC’s ‘most wanted’ tax fugitive jailed over fraud worth millions of pounds.
A HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation has led to the ringleader of an illegal cigarette smuggling ring being jailed for avoiding millions of pounds’ worth of tax.
The ringleader had been on the HMRC’s most wanted list and Svajunas Navagruckas, aged 51 had been in charge of a crime network that had been caught with nearly £9 million worth of illegal cigarettes.
HMRC investigators had discovered that millions worth of tobacco had been hidden in a Lincolnshire farm outbuilding in June 2017. The tobacco had been hidden in laundry bags and window frames, and meant that the ring had evaded tax duty worth nearly £3 million.
After leaving the UK during HMRC investigations, a European arrest warrant was issued by the HMRC for Navagruckas. Lithuanian authorities were able to arrest him and he was returned to the UK in July 2020.
Richard Paris, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said, “Navagruckas was the head of an organised criminal network intent on flooding our streets with millions of illicit cigarettes.
“These kinds of cigarettes come at a cost as they undermine legitimate traders, take vital revenue away from our public services, and can all too easily find their way into the hands of children.
“We continue to pursue the remaining gang member Robertas Borovskis, 40. If anyone has information about his whereabouts, please report it online at GOV.UK.
Navagruckas was sentenced on February 5, and has now been sentenced to 28 months in prison.
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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