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Diamonds among £2.5m of assets seized from VAT fraudster

Ronnie Decker was part of a major VAT fraud scheme at a Glasgow business.

Seized: Watches and diamonds sold at auction.
Seized: Watches and diamonds sold at auction. COPFS

Diamonds and designer watches are among £2.5m worth of assets which have been seized from a VAT fraudster.

Ronnie Decker was part of a major fraud scheme to cheat the public purse at Glasgow-based Q-Tech Distribution ltd.

The Crown Office had secured a forfeiture of assets order against Decker in April 2016, but the businessman challenged the ruling in court.

However, the case has now been settled out of court and many of the businessman's possessions, including some in France and Antigua, have been handed over.

His diamonds and designer watches were sold at auction in London in December, raising £130,000.

Fraud: 'Complex and lengthy' investigation.
Fraud: 'Complex and lengthy' investigation. COPFS

Other assets include Decker's £380,000 house, £82,000 in cash which was found inside it, his bank accounts, investments and pension policy.

Q-Tech illegally gained millions of pounds through a scheme known as carousel VAT fraud, which involved false transactions between businesses across Europe.

Alongside Sierra Leone-born Decker, Michael Voudouri and Mohammed Sarfaz Sattar benefited from the scheme.

Voudouri is currently serving an 11-year sentence for money laundering and failing to appear in court.

'I am delighted that the case his settled and that money will finally benefit Scotland's communities.'
Denise McKay, civil recovery unit

Denise McKay, head of the civil recovery unit, said: "Ronnie Decker set out to line his own pockets and deny the public purse of millions of pounds through a systematic abuse of the VAT repayments system.

"Uncovering the fraud involved a financial investigation that spanned the globe and required the cooperation of numerous agencies in many different countries.

"I am delighted that the case his settled and that money will finally benefit Scotland's communities."

Charlie Merrick, from HMRC's fraud investigation team, said: "This was a complex and lengthy investigation, but we are committed to recovering money to fund the public purse and this result is testament to the strong partnership between HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service and the Civil Recovery Unit.

"We are dedicated to ensuring that those who owe money to HMRC pay in full."

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