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Guest Bloggery: Most Wanted

November 12, 2013

This is a guest post by Banderillero.  Welcome!

I must admit I did not pay a lot of attention to the list of Most Wanted Tax Fugitives when it was published.  But I have just read an update from HMRC which said the following:

A convicted cigarette smuggler who featured on a list of Most Wanted tax fugitives this summer has been found.

After being named on HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Most Wanted list, Michael ‘Arthur’ Fearon, 21, from Newry, handed himself in to the authorities in Northern Ireland. He is now in HM Prison Magheraberry serving a sentence for tobacco fraud.

… Donald Toon, Director of Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “Fearon thought he could go on the run to avoid facing justice – but he was wrong. We relentlessly pursue tax fugitives and ensure they face the consequences of their criminal activity, and after over a year on the run, Fearon has done the right thing.”

(read the whole report here )

So we can now sleep more safely in our beds, with this high profile criminal safely behind bars.

Except …

I then read the “More Information On The Case.

And it transpires that:

At the time of his arrest Michael was a boy of 17, who appears to have been working in a warehouse which was raided.  There were millions of counterfeit cigarettes, and lots of people working at the warehouse.  Most of them fled, but the youngster, Michael, was caught.

He was tried for smuggling – but as he ran away before the trial it seems that the trial went ahead without him and he was “found guilty in his absence”.

Having been made such a high profile criminal, he has decided that life on the run is not for him and he turned himself in and was promptly locked up.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not condoning criminal activity.  But it seems to me that as a teenager (and legally still a minor) Michael got a job working for some counterfeiters.  On a scale of serious criminal activity I would not put this very high – and I don’t really think that it does HMRC’s work on tax avoidance justice by highlighting this lad as one of the Most Serious Tax Avoiders in the UK.

But I would be interested to know what others think?

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