McFarnon charged with VAT fraud


Advantage Cellular managing director John McFarnon has been charged with VAT offences, relating to trading of mobile phones by Future Communications and Unique Distribution.

McFarnon appeared at Kingston Magistrates Court last week along with directors of Unique’s owners IGB, Haider Ravjani, Ravjani’s son Dilawar and daughter Roshan Ara Hussein and Unique finance director Zafar Chisthi, and Future head Rajesh Gathani.

Others charged were Lee Sellers, Maulik Bhatt, Marshall Boston, and Paul David Smith.

They were all bailed to appear at Kingston Crown Court on June 30.

The charge read out in Court is that the accused “between 01/11/2005 and 02/06/2006 were knowingly a party to carrying on of the business of a company, namely Unique Distribution Ltd, for a fraudulent purpose, namely cheating Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of sums charged as value added tax contrary to Section 458 and Schedule 24 of the Companies Act 1985”.

A statement from Advantage Celllular read:

"We are aware that John McFarnon has had allegations brought against him by HM Revenue and Customs in respect of certain value added tax matters.

We can confirm that these allegations have nothing whatsoever to do with Advantage Cellular Communications Limited and relate to a period when Mr McFarnon was employed by Unique Distribution Ltd.

Any allegations made by HM Revenue and Customs regarding Johns involvement in this case will be defended by John and will be fought in the strongest possible terms. We have every confidence that he was not involved in any wrong doing and he will clear his name in due course.

All who know or have worked with John McFarnon, will be aware of his excellent reputation and that he is highly respected throughout the industry as a person of integrity.

He has a history of strong business performances with companies which have adopted ISO 9001 standards with the appropriate accreditation and has always ensured that the companies he has been involved with have complied with all issues relating to corporate governance within the mobile telecommunications industry.

John McFarnon has an excellent track record in the industry for over fifteen years and no such allegation has previously been brought against him by HM Revenue and Customs. John McFarnon has and will continue to enjoy the full support of Advantage Cellular Communications Limited.

The company also enjoys the support of its customers and suppliers and hopes that they will continue to support Advantage Cellular Communications Limited and John McFarnon.

There is no question of John McFarnon being divested of his role as Managing Director of Advantage Cellular Communications and we can confirm that he will continue the excellent work he has progressed in the establishment and development of our group".