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London smuggler sentenced

Press Release   •   Aug 30, 2013 12:09 BST

A London man who used a false identity in an attempt to smuggle more than 350,000 duty free cigarettes into the UK has been sentenced.

Baryan Ahmed Mohamed, 50, was caught by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after he arranged for a consignment of illegal cigarettes to be shipped to the UK from the United Arab Emirates inside a freight container, claiming that the goods were carpets and blankets.

Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“Baryan Ahmed Mohamed plotted to smuggle large quantities of illegal cigarettes into the UK. He cared little for the impact on small, honest businesses and had no qualms about selling counterfeit and unregulated cigarettes.

“HMRC will not cease in its efforts to track down cigarette smugglers and stop their activities. Anyone with information about smuggling can contact our customs hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

The container arrived at the Port of Felixstowe in June 2012 and was searched by officers from Border Force. The paperwork described the load as carpets and blankets but inside officers found more than 350,000 Rothmans and Richman branded cigarettes.

HMRC investigators later discovered that Mohamed had also used a false name on correspondence to try and distance himself from the illegal haul, worth almost £95,000 in unpaid excise duty and VAT.

Mohamed was arrested at his home in September 2012 and charged in February 2013 with being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of excise duty. He was found guilty yesterday (29 August 2013) at Ipswich Crown Court. The jury took just 40 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict. Whilst sentencing him to 21 months in prison His Honour Judge Devaux described aspects of Mohamed’s defence as” ludicrous.”

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.