Website names and shames tax cheats

A ROGUES’ gallery of 32 convicted tax cheats including a man jailed for his role in running an illegal cigarette factory in Chesterfield has been published online in a bid to deter tax fraud.

Lithuanian-born Andrius Kochanauskas’s mugshot is among those in HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) hall of shame on image-hosting site Flickr.

The 30-year-old was jailed for five months for his part in a foiled plot to make counterfeit cigarettes at an estimated loss of revenue of £131m a year.

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Kochanauskas and the 31 other biggest tax cheats of 2012 were sentenced to a combined total of more than 155 years behind bars last year.

The photostream includes four men who were jailed for a total of 21 years and three months for one of the biggest alcohol smuggling frauds ever uncovered in the UK, worth £50m a year.

Others on the list include the managing director of a tax firm who was jailed for four years for a “gentleman’s agreement” with his deputy to share the £4.5m profit from a fraudulent tax avoidance scheme sold to wealthy customers.

Treasury minister David Gauke said: “We hope that publishing these pictures will help to get across that it always makes sense to declare all your income, and tax dodgers are simply storing up trouble for the future.”

The move comes on the heels of HMRC’s campaign in July last year, when it published a list of the UK’s “most wanted” tax avoiders.

The FBI-style list, which received 660,000 hits last month, was published in the hope that members of the public will help in the effort to catch them.

Both campaigns form part of the Government’s £917m investment in tackling tax evasion.

The photostream can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/hmrcgovuk/sets.