Sheffield businessman cleared over VAT scam after trail

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A SHEFFIELD man alleged to have been part of a gang which cheated taxpayers out of millions of pounds in a VAT scam has been cleared.

Sandeep Harry, aged 27, of Kingswood Hall, Middlewood Drive, was alleged to have been part of a gang which ran a series of companies buying high-value carbon credits before selling them on to legitimate companies - carbon credits are bought by companies to off-set pollution they generate.

The gang exploited UK VAT laws and earned vast sums of cash from the Government through a series of transactions between the complicit firms.

The Southward Crown Court heard money was then laundered overseas.

Harry and three others were cleared after a 14-week trial, but Ranjot Singh Chahal, 35, from Middlesex, 30-year-old Sandeep Singh Dosanjh, from Kensington, London, and Navdeep Singh Gill, 31, from Slouth, Berkshire, were convicted of conspiring to cheat the public revenue between September 2008 and July 2009.

All three were remanded into custody to be sentenced later.

Michael Parroy QC, prosecuting, said the fraud was a ‘blatant and dishonest cheat on the public purse by a group of people in an organised and systematic fraud on the VAT system’.

He said: “The system was simple in its concept, but the consequences were dramatic. The loss of tax revenue ran into millions of pounds and those involved made a lot of money and all of it by cheating the taxpayers of this country.”

The fraud involved carbon credits being brought into the country zero rated for VAT. A string of sham companies operated by the gang then sold the credits between themselves charging VAT on each transaction, but ‘never accounted for one penny of that to the government’.