A multimillionaire tax fraud fugitive, who spent more than 11 years on the run and owes over £200 million, has been brought back to Britain to serve a lengthy jail term after spending time in Pakistan, Dubai and Canada.
Multi-millionaire Hussain Asad Chohan, from Birmingham and originally from Pakistan, fled the country while standing trial for his role in tobacco smuggling fraud in 2006.
Chohan, who has been ordered to repay £53 million to the public purse, was found living under a false name in Canada and is starting a 12-year prison sentence, HM Revenue and Customs said in a statement.
Chohan evaded justice by fleeing to Lahore, Pakistan in 2006, while standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court for his role in a major tobacco-smuggling fraud.
Chohan is thought to have used a number of aliases while living in Pakistan and in the Jumeirah area of Dubai, before settling in Ottawa with his family.
In a statement confirming the fraudster had been extradited from Canada by a team of specialist officers assisted by Canadian police and Interpol, HMRC said Chohan was also linked to a £185 million VAT fraud.
Evidence was presented to a confiscation hearing in December 2006 of Chohan’s involvement in the VAT fraud, as well as tobacco smuggling, and he was ordered to repay
Chohan, who also owes interest totaling more than £24 million, was given a five-year sentence in his absence for the tobacco-related offences. He has been ordered to serve a further seven-year term after failing to pay the sums owed.
Simon York, director of the Fraud Investigation Service at the HMRC, said: “Chohan thought he could avoid prison by fleeing the country and ran away to set up a new life for himself. But he couldn’t run forever and his criminal past eventually caught up with him.
“Running away from tax crime isn’t an option. We will relentlessly pursue fugitives who, like Chohan, think they can avoid paying for their crime. Our message is clear – nobody is beyond our reach. “Tracking down fugitives like Chohan demonstrates how far HMRC’s work with law enforcement stretches across the globe.”
Canadian police arrested Chohan at Toronto airport after he arrived on a flight from the United Arab Emirates in September 2016. He was placed on remand at a correctional centre in Lindsay, Ontario, before being flown back to the UK.
He arrived back in the UK on Friday accompanied by HMRC officers, before being taken to Birmingham Crown Court where his sentence was confirmed. Chohan was extradited from Canada by a team of specialist officers from HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Offender Management and Enforcement Team, with the assistance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Interpol.