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Thu 20 Jul 2017 08:59 AM

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Dubai officials apprehend UK's most wanted tax fugitive

Geoffrey Johnson attempted to travel through Dubai using a false passport

Dubai officials apprehend UK's most wanted tax fugitive

One of Britain's most wanted tax fugitives was apprehened in Dubai last week after officials detected he was travelling with a false passport.

Geoffrey Johnson, who was involved in complex fraud in the UK, including the theft of $220 million and laundering of more than $1.6 billion, was deported from the UAE after the authorities caught him travelling to the country from Kenya on a false documents.

Johnson fled the UK along with his son Gareth in July 2014 to avoid jail. He was sentenced in absentia on September 9 2014 to 24 years imprisonment.

On his return to the UK last week, a court added a further six months to his sentence for his failure to appear at his original trial. Gareth Johnson remains a fugitive, and anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the HMRC UK fraud hotline on +44 (0) 80 788 887.

Tackling trans-national crime requires a cohesive international response, said Steve Baker, regional manager of the UK's Fiscal Crime Liaison Network.

"Johnson had been on the run since 2014 and as the net closed, he believed he could illegally enter Dubai from Kenya to evade capture,” Baker explained.

"The skill and professionalism of the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and the Police Wanted Persons unit quickly put a stop to that. Using a combination of investigation and world-class technical capability, they were able to identify his false travel documents. Having decided to deport him back to the UK, the UAE authorities worked in partnership with the UK to arrange his safe return to face justice.”

He said this case should be a warning to others who commit crimes or abscond from justice.

“HM Revenue and Customs will relentlessly pursue you and your criminal assets wherever in the world that may be. There are no safe havens," he said.

The British Embassy in the UAE also paid tribute to the work of Dubai authorities for their role in the return of Johnson. 

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