Court dismisses charges VAT fraud case


Judge Higgins threw out in their entirety the charges for involvement in VAT fraud against Amir Naghib, formerly a trader within Carphone Warehouse’s wholesale division, and Keith Ponder, formerly of Beaconsfield-based Furzefield.

Judge Higgins also rejected the cases brought by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)  against Sampson Goldstone and Ebrahim Soda for VAT fraud. HMRC is required to cover all legal costs associated with the fraud charges.

Goldstone’s involvement in money laundering was also rejected. The case against Soda for money laundering remains, however.

A source close to the case said: “It is unusual for ‘applications to dismiss’ to succeed, so it is a blow for HMRC. Its case is falling apart in front of it.”
HMRC refused to comment.

The cases brought by HMRC against the remaining 14 defendants continue, although more are expected to be dropped as the court hears three more applications for dismissal in November and January.

Police raided 93 premises and arrested 42 people across the UK and Spain in 2003 as part of a criminal investigation called Operation Euripus. In February this year, they charged and held on bail 18 people, among them Naghib, Ponder, Goldstone and Soda, as well as Curtis Laurent, Marcus Hughes, Keith Bennett, Hashib Apabhai, Adam Amani, Peter Ebbrell, Jo-Anne Halliday and Quentin Reynolds.

Bail for the accused was set at up to £2 million, with some required to put up cash and others to put up other securities. Some of the defendants are well represented and some are on legal aid.