Britain’s second most wanted fraudster on the run after £156million tax scam can’t hand himself in because he claims the authorities won’t collect him from his Middle East hideout
- <Nasser Ahmed fled the UK shortly before a jury convicted him of fraud
- Nine years on he claims he has repeatedly tried to hand himself in to HMRC
- Ahmed says he has contacted embassy, Foreign Office and Treasury hotline
- HMRC want him back but sources are not convinced about his location
On the run: Shortly after this picture was taken Nasser Ahmed fled the UK following a £156m fraud but now claims he keeps trying to hand himself in but the authorities won’t take him home
Britain’s second most wanted fraudster on the run after being convicted of a £156million tax scam claims he keeps trying to hand himself in but the Government refuses to collect him.
Nasser Ahmed, 41, fled the country minutes before a jury found him guilty of defrauding HMRC and was sentenced to six years in jail as he boarded a plane to the Middle East.
But after nine years on the run, Ahmed wants to hand himself in after admitting ‘life on the run isn’t as glamorous as it seems’.
He says he has contacted the courts, British Embassy, Foreign Office – and even the HMRC ‘Most Wanted’ hotline – but claims his pleas to face justice have been ignored.
He is unable to return to the UK under his own steam because he no longer holds a passport and it is understood he cannot apply for one because he is a wanted criminal.
HMRC say they would like him to return the UK, but have not been given clear guidance of his location, saying his family told them he was in Pakistan, not the Middle East as he claims.
Sources also told MailOnline that Ahmed could hand himself in at the nearest British embassy.
Speaking from a mystery location – understood to be Dubai – Ahmed said: ‘I fled court because there were certain liabilities or commitments which would have put me in future problems.
‘I was 32 when it all happened and I took the decision to leave, but in time one realises life on the run isn’t as glamorous as it may seem.
‘I want to fight now to show the businesses targeted were totally legitimate.
‘I would imagine I’m facing 12 to 18 months extra in prison at least. But that is the way it is.
‘I’m happy to do that and I will be appealing – if I ever get there.’
Ahmed has contacted the British Embassy in the country he is in, the Foreign Office in the UK and Bristol Crown Court. His lawyer has contacted HMRC.
The cash he pocketed from the staggering scam would have put him among the top 250 richest people and made him more wealthy at the time than David Beckham.
Ahmed fled justice at the end of a nine-day trial at Bristol Crown Court in February 2005 after he was found guilty of fraud and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
His scam centred around the illegal sale of computer chips which he bought in massive quantities from a company in Luxembourg – paying no VAT between 2001 and 2005.
He then sold them on to two companies in England for less than he paid for them but collected VAT from the buyers which he did not pass on to the taxman.
During one seven-week period, £500,000 went into his Royal Bank of Scotland account every day and he had various offshore accounts, the court heard.
Ahmed, from Knowle, Bristol, even brazenly continued to pass vast sums through his accounts while facing charges.
Criminal: Ahmed was last seen here at Bristol Crown court nine years ago. He claims that he is in the Middle East but recent HMRC intelligence says he is not
A confiscation hearing held after an investigation into Ahmed’s finances was told although he was convicted of defrauding £800,000, he actually made £156million.
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE: THE ONLY FRAUDSTER WHO STOLE MORE THAN NASSER AHMED
The most wanted fraudster – the one to have cost the taxpayer the most – is Hussain Asad Chohan, 44.
Smuggler Chohan, is wanted after failing to appear in court for his part in an estimated #200 million fraud in April 2006.
Among other offences, Chohan imported 2.25 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco worth #750,000 in duty alone in in August 2000.
Chohan, from Birmingham, was tried in absence and found guilty and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for smuggling and fraud offences and failing to appear in court.
Along with his sentence Chohan – thought to be living in Dubai – was also served with a #33 million confiscation order.
After the trial, Revenue and Customs investigator Chris Ballard said: ‘This was not some kind of advanced tax planning but organised fraud on a massive scale perpetrated by criminals bent on making fast and easy profits at the expense of the British taxpayer.
‘This was the theft of revenues needed to fund our country’s public services.’
Last year the businessman’s mugshot appeared on HMRC’s most wanted list after intelligence confirmed he was in Pakistan.
A few months ago Ahmed – now believed to be in Dubai – and his lawyer made steps to get the fraudster back to the UK but have been unable to because of his lack of passport.
He owes more than anyone else on the HMRC’s latest most wanted gallery, released in August 2013.
Natasha Murray, a solicitor from BCL Burton Copeland looking after his case, said: ‘I think it’s absolutely disgraceful.
‘Apparently he is the second most wanted and they are desperate to track him down, but that doesn’t seem to be what is happening.
‘It’s just bizarre that they say this man owes millions and millions but they can’t even be bothered to go and get him.
‘He has been away from his family and his wife for long enough now and wants to come back.
‘He’s going to have to serve his time, but he understands that and is ready. At least this way he will be able to see his family.’
Ms Murray would not confirm his current location and Ahmed only said he lived ‘somewhere in the Middle East’.
Ahmed is likely to have to serve the six years in prison handed to him at Bristol Crown Court as well as further punishments for failing to pay a confiscation order and skipping bail.
Nick Mann, spokesperson for HMRC, said: ‘HMRC has no objection to Nasser Ahmed returning to the UK but we have not been notified of any firm arrangements from either him or his solicitor in terms of his return.
‘We did speak with a solicitor representing the family earlier this year and said that we understood that Mr Ahmed was located in Pakistan.’
Fraudster Nasser Ahmed first contacted the authorities in March or April in a bid to get home.
He is married with children who are understood to still live in the UK.