UK hunts most wanted tax fugitive in Kenya

By Daily Nation

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A newspaper advertisement showing Gareth Johnson wanted in Scotland for tax fraud. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A key suspect wanted for tax evasion in Scotland once rented an apartment on Muthaiga road in Nairobi.

According to Scottish newspaper Daily Record on July 13, 2017, the fugitive, Mr Gareth Johnson, had initially fled to Tanzania together with his father Geoffrey Johnson,72, who has since been arrested and returned to the United Kingdom where he is in prison.

The older Johnson was arrested in July in Dubai after he travelled from Mombasa on a false passport.

The arrest was done with assistance from Kenya authorities, UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reports.

TAX FRAUD

In a paid up advert in local dailies on Friday, HMRC, which described Johnson as one of UK’s most wanted tax fugitives, said he could be in Kenya or Tanzania.

He has links in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam cities.

“Gareth Johnson, aged 49 (DOB 29.02.68), is one of UK’s most wanted tax fugitives.

“Johnson and his father Geoffrey Johnson, both originally from Forfar in Scotland, were part of an 18-person gang,” the advert says.

TRIAL

Gareth Johnson was due to stand trial in England in 2013 for a multi-billion pound tax fraud but he did not attend court and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in absentia.

The Daily Record reports that they led a luxury lifestyle before fleeing the country.

In March 2016, the duo were ordered by the UK courts to repay Sh15 billion of their criminal proceeds or face an extra 14 years in jail.

“Gareth Johnson should be in jail for six years. He should pay back a lot of money,” HRMC said, adding there may be a financial reward for any information on the fugitive.

LIFESTYLE

Daily Record reported Johnson’s brother Craig was jailed in 2008 for his part in a similar scheme that netted him millions of pounds.

A source who talked to the newspaper said “It was unbelievable how much money they had.

“There were Clive Christian fittings (in their house) everywhere and Johnson’s fleet of cars was crazy.

“He bought top-of-the-range Bentleys, Ferraris and Porsches and had them parked everywhere. I don’t know how he chose what to drive.

“When they weren’t using their cars, they were getting flown around in their helicopter. It was a different world.”

FRAUD

The paper further reported that the Johnsons were involved in the carousel fraud, which stretched across Andorra, Dubai, Hong Kong, USA, Switzerland, Portugal and the UK.

Carousel fraud involves a person charging a customer VAT on the sale of goods, but pocketing it instead of handing it over to the taxman.

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