Europe’s largest retailer of mobile phones had its London headquarters raided by Customs & Excise last week looking for evidence of their involvement in “missing trader” fraud
The fraud involves buying mobile handsets in another EU state (exempt of VAT) and then selling them in Britain at prices that include VAT. Before the difference is paid to the Exchequer the trader in question disappears with the profit. H.M. Customs and Excise estimate that this costs the government about £3bn in unpaid tax which equates to a staggering £15bn of gross sales.
If this is the case Customs and Excise estimate that scores of respectable companies must be feeding the fraud to generate that level of turnover. As one Customs Officer put it; - “We aren’t talking about a dodgy deal in a pub here”
No accusations have been levelled at Carphone Warehouse and the company has recently stopped dealing in wholesale trading of mobile phones
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