Almost 150 kilos of gold, estimated to be worth more than £2.5 million, which was smuggled into the UK by a criminal gang led by Chaudry Ali is being sold at auction in Ireland next week.
The gold was seized during an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs into a £9 million smuggling plot that saw the gang’s leader, 62-year-old Chaudry Ali of Hillingdon, jailed for nine years in 2012.
According to HMRC, Chaudry was ordered to pay back £4.3 million of his criminal profits or serve an extra ten years in prison, when he appeared at Kingston Crown Court in November 2014.
Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is sentenced; we always look to reclaim their illegal profits for the nation’s finances to fund the public services used by everyone. By auctioning the gold seized during the investigation we are moving another step closer to bringing this long and complicated case to a conclusion and ensure justice is fully served.”
To carry out the fraud, Ali recruited two couriers who would fly to Dubai, via Frankfurt, to collect large amounts of gold jewellery. The couriers would leave the UK in the afternoon, arriving in Dubai early the next morning. They would collect the gold then leave Dubai the same evening returning to Frankfurt and meet Ali in an airside lounge.
They would then swap bags. Ali leaving with the gold and the courier leaving with a bag of clothes. Both Ali and his courier would take separate flights back to the UK, passing through the EU entry channel at UK arrivals.
In case he was stopped by officers, Ali carried forged paperwork which claimed he was a legitimate VAT-registered gold trader who had travelled to Europe with the gold in his bag. As he hadn’t left the EU then no duty would be payable on the gold.
With guide prices ranging from £200 to £5,000 per lot, catalogue entries include Asian gold bracelets, necklaces, rings, a statue and gold bars.
Two online auctions have already taken place and so far raised almost £700,000 for the public coffers.
Aidan Larkin, Asset Recovery Department Manager for Wilsons Auctions Ltd, added: “We are delighted to be entrusted with the sale of the gold on HMRC’s behalf after such a successful investigation and playing our part in realising the assets so money can go back into the public purse.”
According to HMRC, further action to recover the proceeds of the crime is being taken by selling properties and land worth nearly £2 million owned by Ali in Birmingham and London.