A Birmingham tax fraudster has been sentenced to four years in prison after plans to build his own personal ‘Buckingham Palace’ in Pakistan was thwarted by police.
42-year-old Mohammed Suleman Khan was living a life of luxury in his Moseley home, having cheated the tax man by almost £500,000 over a nine year period.
Despite appearing to have no job on paper in the UK, and only transferring minimal amounts through bank accounts in the country, it was his lavish spending in Pakistan which alerted the authorities.
Detectives investigating Khan’s lifestyle found that he had actually commissioned work for a £2.4million palace to be constructed in Pakistan which a judge described as his own ‘Buckingham Palace’.
The building, upon completion, would have included its own library, private cinema and even servant quarters.
It was a search of Khan’s home which unveiled the true plans for the mammoth operation in Pakistan’s Attock region.
The tax evader’s defence argued that their client was a legitimate businessman who had earned just £300,000 over a nine year period.
Yet officers from West Midlands Police Force CID, investigating the accused, had found that Khan had already spent £893,000 on the outer-shell and roof of his Pakistan project, on top of at least £300,000 income for him and his family in the UK.
From that information, officers concluded that Khan had failed to pay tax and national insurance over that period which equalled a total amount of £445,264.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Bannister, who led the investigation, said: “We disputed the amounts earned. Our research was not able to find any business he controlled or owned that was consistent with him being a debt collector within the community.
“We were effectively prosecuting someone based on the evidence about lifestyle and property without having easily obtained evidence.’’
Over the course of the investigation it was also discovered that Khan had, at one point, had more than £120,000 in cash possession and had also paid for luxury cars in cash, including a £22,000 BMW.
Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, responsible for policing in east Birmingham, said: “The joint action taken by police and HM Revenue and Customs proves that where communities trust local officers and confide in them, we are able to piece that information together and where appropriate launch an investigation.
“This may take time but we will always seek to bring to justice those who don’t operate within the law.
“The message from West Midlands Police is that we will stop you, whether that is through criminal law, through Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions or others.
“Communities are fed up of people thinking they are above the law and are increasingly standing up to be counted.”