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Fugitive wanted in the UK for tax evasion lived in Nairobi, paper reports

A suspect wanted for tax evasion in Scotland once rented an apartment along Nairobi’s Muthaiga Road, it has emerged.

According to Scottish newspaper Daily Record of July 13, Mr Gareth Johnson, initially fled to Tanzania with his father Geoffrey Johnson, 72, who has since been arrested and returned to the United Kingdom where he is in prison.

The older Johnson was arrested in July in the United Arab Emirates after reportedly travelling from Mombasa using a false passport.

The arrest was with assistance from Kenyan authorities and UK tax authority HM Revenue and Customs.

In a paid advert in local dailies on Friday, HMRC which described Gareth as one of UK’s most wanted tax fugitives said he could be in Kenya or Tanzania. He has links in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

MOST WANTED

“Gareth Johnson, aged 49, is one of the UK’s most wanted fugitives. Gareth and his father Geoffrey Johnson, both originally from Forfar in Scotland were part of an 18-person gang,” the advert said.

Gareth, 49, was due to stand trial in England in 2013 for a multi-billion pound tax fraud but he did not attend court and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in absentia.

The Daily Record said they led a luxury lifestyle before fleeing the country.

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UK looking for Sh15b ‘tax fugitive’ hiding in Nairobi

In March last year, the two were ordered by the UK courts to repay Sh15 billion of their criminal proceeds or face an extra 14 years in jail.

“Gareth Johnson should be in jail for six years. He should pay back a lot of money,” HRMC said, adding there may be a financial reward for any information leading to the arrest of the fugitive.

The Daily Record added that Gareth’s brother Craig was jailed in 2008 for his part in a scheme that netted him millions of pounds.

CAROUSEL FRAUD

A source who talked to the newspaper said it was unbelievable how much money they had.

“There were Clive Christian fittings in their house everywhere and Gareth’s fleet of cars was crazy,” the source said.

“He bought top-of-the-range Bentleys, Ferraris and Porsches and had them parked everywhere. I don’t know how he chose what to drive. When they weren’t using their cars, they were getting flown around in their helicopter. It was a different world.”

The paper also reported that the Johnsons were involved in the carousel fraud, which stretched across Andorra, Dubai, Hong Kong, the US, Switzerland, Portugal and the UK.

Carousel fraud involves a person charging a customer Value Added Tax on the sale of goods, but pocketing it instead of handing it over to revenue agencies.