Fugitive jailed over £11.6m tax scam

A businessman who was one of Britain’s most wanted tax fugitives has been jailed for more than 11 years for a multimillion-pound tax fraud.

Michael Voudouri, 46, of Bridge of Allan, Stirling, pleaded guilty in October 2012 to laundering a total of £11.6m through foreign and domestic banks, company accounts and individuals between 2001 and 2004 as part of a VAT scam.

But he failed to show up for sentencing in a Scottish court the following month and it emerged that he had fled to northern Cyprus. He remained in the republic until he was tracked down, extradited and returned to Scotland last month.

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He was jailed for a total of 11 years and six months when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh today.

Voudouri was locked up for 10 years for the charges relating to what the judge described as a “complex money-laundering operation”. He was also jailed for an additional 18 months for failing to appear in court in 2012.

Judge Lord Tyre told Voudouri, who has a previous conviction for VAT fraud: “In my view, the offences which you committed fall towards the upper end of the scale of seriousness, both in relation to the very large sums involved and in relation to the complexity and sophistication of the laundering arrangements which you were responsible for directing, along with others.”

Voudouri was initially charged with laundering more than £48m but ultimately pleaded guilty to charges relating to sums of over £10.3m and £1.2m.

His lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said he has now been instructed to lodge an appeal against the conviction.