Supply chain · 6 November 2018

Tax fraud brothers jailed for £3.6m alcohol scam

Officers seized the equivalent of 119,000 pints of beer and 6,000 bottles of wine

A pair of London-based brothers have been jailed for more than 12 years after evading £3.6m in tax by distributing smuggled alcohol.

HMRC officers caught Tayfun and Taylan Donger of Edmonton, North London red-handed as they were unloading smuggled beer at a warehouse in Epping, Essex on 10 November 2016. The men were arrested as they removed the contraband from an HGV that had been brought into the UK from Belgium.

The officers seized more than £4,000 in cash, the equivalent of 119,000 pints of beer, 6,000 bottles of wine and 830 bottles of spirits, along with the HGV, a forklift truck, pump trucks and two vans, which had been used to transport the non-UK duty paid alcohol.

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“The Donger brothers thought they had developed the perfect scheme to illegally trade in illicit alcohol, diverting millions of pounds from public finances straight into their pockets, until HMRC officers stopped them in their tracks,” said Brett Wilkinson, assistant director at HMRC Fraud Investigation Service.

“These men were stealing from the taxpayer and undercutting legitimate traders.”

Investigations revealed that during the seven-month scam, the brothers had distributed smuggled alcohol worth £3.6 million in unpaid duty and VAT into the UK. The tax evaded by the duo was the equivalent of the starting salary for 130 new nurses in London.

Just days before the start of the trial, Taylan Donger attempted to flee to Turkey, but was arrested by HMRC officers on 20 September 2018 at Stansted Airport and remanded in custody.

The Dongers denied evading excise duty and VAT, but were found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on 24 October 2018. Tayfun Donger was given a six-and-a-half year sentence, and Taylan six years, on 1 November.

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