Indian-Origin Businessman Jailed For Tax Fraud In UK

LONDON: A 54-year-old Indian-origin businessman in the UK has been sentenced to three years in prison for non-payment of 500,000 pounds in tax on earnings from bars here and tried to hide money in an offshore firm.

Gurkirpal Singh Bance, also known as Dave Bance, was found guilty of two counts of tax fraud last month and sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday.

He had built up a lucrative London business empire called The Bance Group, which he claimed included its own airline and other ventures worth over 80 million pounds.

After an investigation by UK government’s tax office – Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) – it emerged that the majority of Bance’s companies were not registered for value added tax (VAT), or he had only paid minimal amounts to avoid any suspicion of fraud.

“HMRC began to investigate when checks found that after Bance purchased two restaurants/bars in central London he was charging customers VAT using the previous owners VAT number, despite not being registered for VAT and pocketing the money instead of paying it to HMRC. He attempted to hide some of his income by transferring funds to an offshore company based in the British Virgin Isles,” it said in a statement.

Bance was arrested in July 2013 and charged with cheating the public revenue of Britain.

Confiscation proceedings under UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act are now underway against him to recoup the 500,000 pounds he defrauded the tax department.

His brother, 52-year-old Pritpal Singh Bance, was cleared of the same charges, along with their colleague 49-year-old Mah-e-Jabeen.