martes, 9 de diciembre de 2014 – 8 de diciembre de 2014 – uk

Gambian diplomats found guilty of using London embassy for tobacco fraud

Seven Gambian diplomats who used their London embassy as a front for selling more than half a million pouches of tax-free tobacco have been found guilty of cheating the UK taxpayer out of almost £4.8m.

Yusupha Bojang, the deputy head of London’s Gambian Diplomatic Mission, ordered 29 tonnes of tax-free rolling tobacco in a three-year scam together with his colleagues.

During the trial, Southwark Crown court heard how the embassy building in London’s Kensington Court was transformed into a tobacconist store, with smokers queuing outside to buy imported packets of Old Holborn and Golden Virginia.

In some cases diplomats were ordering tobacco worth more than their annual salary – quite an investment, especially given that there was no evidence the defendants are smokers.

The racket meant more than £4.8m of tax revenue went evaded, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. Bojang, along with first secretary Gaston Sambou, welfare officer Georgina Gomez and finance attaché Ebrima John – who all had diplomatic privileges – were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the revenue along with Veerahia Ramarajaha, Audrey Leeward and Hasaintu Noah.

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