A company finance controller who deliberately falsified the accounts to help her company avoid £40 million in tax has been jailed for 3.5 years on Friday (14 July).
Louise Mbadugha, 59, an accountant, worked with company boss Livio Mazzarello, 57, in the Italian Wine Company which imported wines from Italy to the UK.
They were supposed to notify HMRC of each of their consignments but only a fraction of their imports were declared. Instead the company was selling thousands of bottles of wine under the counter and doctoring their accounting records.
The real accounts were kept on a server in Italy and delivery drivers were given two notes – one with the accurate quantity of their shipment and one with fake figures to give to HMRC.
Mbadugha and Mazzarello denied fraudulent evasion of excise duty, fraudulent evasion of VAT and money laundering at the Central Criminal Court. Both were convicted after a trial in May during which Mazzarello absconded. He was earlier sentenced to 14 years in prison in his absence and a European arrest warrant is being obtained for him.
Frank Ferguson from the CPS said:
“Mbadugha and Mazzarello were behind this complex fraud for a number of years and went to great lengths to hide it.
“Their failure to pay was not a mistake but a complicated operation to deceive and cheat in order to profit. As a result, they kept £40 million which should have been paid to HMRC and the public purse.
“The evidence put forward by the prosecution demonstrated the individual role played by each defendant and resulted in the guilty verdicts returned by the jury.”
- Frank Ferguson is Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division