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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Do you want to be a millionaire: The missing fraudster
Nasser Ahmed
Copyright: Bristol United Press
A Bristol VAT fraudster who is on the run threatened to have Customs and police officers murdered.

Former Assistant Chief Investigating Officer Hank Cole from HM Revenue and Customs told Panorama that Nasser Ahmed, "communicated with a number of my officers and a number of police officers and told them directly, or left messages, indicating that he would have those officers killed.

"He is being sought by a number of police forces as well as ourselves and we are on the lookout to find him."

Ahmed was a Bristol 'businessman' and was convicted of fraud in February last year at Bristol Crown Court.

He carried out a 156 millon fraud in four years by importing millions of computer chips from Luxembourg without paying VAT.

Once the chips were in Britain, he sold them and kept the VAT he charged customers.

The court heard how in one seven-week period Ahmed had put 500,000 into a Royal Bank of Scotland account every day.

He even kept 52,000 in cash under his bed for emergencies.

But as the jury deliberated the verdict, Ahmed was caught on CCTV leaving the court and slipping away into the city streets.

He fled minutes before the jury found him guilty of defrauding HM Customs and Excise out of more than 800,000

He hasn't been seen since but is believed to be in Dubai.

According to Mr Cole, Ahmed's gang is part of a wider trend in which hardened criminals are getting into the VAT fraud game.

He said: "The traditional important or serious crime of the seventies was armed robbery. In the eighties and nineties it was drug trafficking. In this century all those crimes still continue but the types of criminals who were involved in those activities are now turning their hand to enormous revenue and VAT frauds because the sums of money involved are so enormous."

Mr Cole told Panorama that members of Ahmed's gang had previous convictions for offences that included drug trafficking, possession of offensive weapons and driving with intent to kill. He said that one member of the wider gang was executed in what appears to have been a gangland shooting.

HM Revenue & Customs would like anyone with information about Ahmed's whereabouts to contact them.

If you have any information you can call Customs Confidential on a free number 0800 59 5000. Or you can email

Watch Do you want to be a millionaire?

The Nemesis for VAT fraudsters?
18 Jun 06 |  Business

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