A 150kg haul of smuggled gold from Dubai is to be auctioned in Belfast this week, it has emerged.
The gold, estimated to be worth more than £2.5 million ($3.8 million), was seized during an investigation by the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into a £9 million smuggling plot that saw the gang’s leader jailed for nine years back in 2012.
Chaudry Ali from Middlesex tricked customs officials by swapping bags with couriers at European airports, according to press reports from the UK.
He recruited two couriers who would fly to Dubai via Frankfurt to collect hauls of jewellery including rings, bands and chains, as well as gold bars and a statue.
They would leave the UK in the afternoon and arrive in Dubai the next morning, the Daily Mail reported. After collecting the gold they would leave Dubai the same day and meet Ali in a Frankfurt airport lounge.
Ali would be carrying bags of clothes, which he would swap with the stashes of gold jewellery and both parties would fly separately to the UK.
As he had not left the EU, Ali would not have been liable to pay duty on the gold. He had also allegedly forged paperwork saying he was a gold dealer.
Ali was later ordered to pay back £4.3 million of his criminal profits or serve an extra 10 years in prison at a subsequent court hearing in 2014.
The gold is to be sold on October 30 at Wilsons Auctions in Belfast for prices ranging from £200 to £5,000 per lot.
According to the newspaper, two online auctions have already taken place and raised almost £700,000.
Kevin Newe, assistant director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, was quoted as saying: “Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is sentenced; we always look to reclaim their illegal profits for the nation’s finances to fund the public services used by everyone.
“By auctioning the gold we seized during the investigation we are moving another step closer to bringing this long and complicated case to a conclusion and ensure justice is fully served.”
Aidan Larkin, asset recovery department manager for Wilsons Auctions, said: “We are delighted to be entrusted with the sale of the gold on HMRC’s behalf after such a successful investigation and playing our part in realising the assets so money can go back into the public purse.”
Source: Arabian Business