Mass arrests made in construction fraud investigation

Published:  16 March, 2012

Investigations into a suspected £15 million money laundering and fraud organisation in London and Northern Ireland led to the arrests of 13 men and one woman this week.

Codenamed ‘operation concentric’, the investigation is targeting a suspected organised crime gang believed to have created a chain of companies claiming to sub-contract labour for construction projects.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) carried out early morning operations on 13 March, raiding two business and one private address in Stoke Newington accompanied by Metropolitan police officers.

In the largest operation of its kind undertaken in Northern Ireland, HMRC and officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also searched 31 businesses and residential properties in Belfast, Co Armagh, Co Antrim and Co Londonderry.

Assistant director criminal investigation, HMRC, John Whiting, said the sophisticated income tax and VAT frauds are believed to have resulted in the theft of millions of pound of public revenue.

“Tax fraud and attempts to launder the proceeds of crime are key priorities for HMRC, and we will continue to pursue any individuals or crime gangs believed to be attacking the public purse in this way,” he added.

Business records, cash and computer equipment were also seized during the operation and the 14 are currently being interviewed by HMRC officers.

The investigation is ongoing.