UK’s most wanted tax fugitive facing Sh15 billion fraud case could be hiding in Kenya

Gareth Johnson, 49, who is wanted for over a Sh15 billion fraud case back in the UK is said to have links to East Africa especially in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

“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,”  UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said in a paid up advert in local dailies on Friday.

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.

In March 2016, Mr. Johnson and his father Geoffrey Johnson,72 were ordered by the UK courts to repay Sh15 billion (£109 million)of their criminal proceeds or face an extra 14 years in jail.

According to Scottish newspaper Daily Record on July 13, 2017, the duo led a luxury lifestyle before fleeing the country.

“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.

The duo initially fled to Tanzania, where his Father was arrested and since been 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 in a multi agency operation done with the assistance of Kenya authorities, UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Johnson once rented an apartment on Muthaiga road in Nairobi and HMRC believes he may still be in the country.

Muthaiga is a leafy suberb on the outskirts of Nairobi City popular with expatriates and diplomats but some areas are not accessible using public transport which may have been why Johnson choose the area as his hideout.

Daily Record 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.

There may be a financial reward for anybody who contacts UK HMRC with information on the two.

"HMRC think Gareth could be in East Africa, possibly Kenya or Tanzania. Do you know where he is? Please call the HMRC fraud hotline +442030800871 or 0202844206," the UK said.

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