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Arrests made in alcohol fraud probe

PUBLISHED: 17:02 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:02 08 October 2014

A total of 14 arrests was made

A total of 14 arrests was made

Archant

Pair suspected of money-laundering in alleged £40 million scam

Two men from Bexley and Chislehurst are among 14 arrested on suspicion of laundering money in an alleged alcohol fraud.

The 60-year-old from Bexley and a man aged 33 from Chislehurst are now being questioned by officials from HM Revenue and Customs.

The pair were arrested in dawn raids yesterday (Tuesday, October 7). Residential properties connected with them were also searched.

Customs say the two are suspected to be involved in the laundering the proceeds of a multimillion-pound alcohol fraud.

It is alleged that the group was diverting non-duty-paid alcohol and selling it on the UK market.

The fraud is said to be worth about £40 million in evaded duty and tax. Those arrested are suspected of being instrumental in laundering the cash generated from the alleged fraud.

Alan Tully, assistant director, criminal investigation, HMRC, said: “This is a major investigation into what we suspect is a well organised and professional attempt to launder the proceeds from a significant alcohol fraud and steal £40 million from the UK economy.

“We are committed to stamping out alcohol fraud, which drains around £1 billion from public finances each year, affecting public services and legitimate retailers who have to compete with the illicit market.”

Cash totalling £650,000 and five lorry-loads of beer and wine were seized. Computers and personal and business records were removed during property searches across the UK.

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