Two charged over tobacco fraud

A man and a woman have been charged with conspiracy to evade duty in connection with the discovery of more than 22 million counterfeit cigarettes and 25 tonnes of illicit hand rolling tobacco at the Port of Felixstowe. The duty evaded on the goods is estimated to be more than £12m.

Xiu Ling Tan, a UK national from Wood Green in London, and Xiong Guan, a Chinese national living in Harrow, have been charged with conspiracy to evade excise duty and VAT between April 2010 and February 2011. They were bailed to appear before Ipswich Magistrates Court on March 20.

Paul Barton, assistant director of criminal investigation at HM Revenue amp; Customs, said: “I am unable to give further details at this time as our investigations are continuing. However, I would like to send out a clear message to those who may tempted to become involved in smuggling, that we take the evasion of tax very seriously and will seek to arrest and charge those suspected of being involved and bring them before the courts.”

He added: “We would encourage anyone with information regarding smuggling or tax fraud to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000. Calls can be made anonymously.”

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