The leader of a gang behind a £9million gold-smuggling plot will have to repay £4.3m of his criminal profits within four months – or serve an extra ten years in prison.
Chaudry Ali, from Hillingdon, was jailed for nine years in 2012 for spearheading the international fraud.
The 52-year-old – nicknamed the 24-carat criminal – recruited two couriers to fly to Dubai, via Frankfurt, to collect large amounts of gold jewellery.
He arranged for them to leave the UK in the afternoon, arriving in Dubai early the next morning. They would then collect the gold and leave the same evening, returning to Frankfurt to meet Ali in an airport lounge.
There they would swap bags – Ali leaving with the gold and the courier leaving with nothing but clothes.
Both Ali and his courier would then take separate flights back to the UK, passing through the European Union (EU) entry channel at UK arrivals.
In case of being stopped by officers, Ali carried forged paperwork purportedly showing him to be a legitimate VAT-registered gold trader who had travelled to Europe with the gold in his bag.
Having not left the EU, no duty would be payable on the gold.
However, the racket was rumbled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers, who also uncovered more than 200 other suspected cases of gold being smuggled into the UK using this set up.
Ali, of Copperfield Avenue, denied all involvement in the scam, but was was found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and jailed for nine years.
Now he has been ordered to repay £4,367,726.90 within four months, or remain in prison for a further ten years – still owing the money.
Kevin Newe, assistant of criminal investigation for HMRC, said: “Ali believed he had found the perfect fraud that was beyond detection, but he was wrong.
“Our investigators uncovered the fraud and in addition to his current prison term he will have to spend an extra ten years in jail unless he repays crime profits of over £4.3million within the next four months.
“Our work doesn’t stop with sentencing – we will pursue criminal profits to reclaim them for the taxpayer and the UK economy.”