Case details for Sami ANSARI

Name: Sami ANSARI

Name: EPOIPO LIMITED

Date of Birth: 8 / 11 / 1980

Date Order Starts: 4 / 5 / 2022

Disqualification Length: 12 Years 0 Month(s)

CRO Number: 04807013

Last Known Address: 23 Templars Crescent, , , , , LONDON,, N3 3QR

Conduct: From at least February 2016 Sami Ansari (“Mr Ansari”) caused or allowed EPOIPO Limited (“EPO”) to participate in transactions which were connected with the fraudulent evasion of Value Added Tax (“VAT”), such connections being something which Mr Ansari either knew or should have known about. Mr Ansari caused or allowed EPO to wrongfully claim at least £2,348,290 from HMRC in relation to its 02/16 to 02/17 VAT periods. These input VAT repayment claims were subjected to extended verification by HMRC and denied. HMRC made VAT assessments of £2,348,290 which was reduced to £2,317,102 following an appeal. Mr Ansari placed EPO into liquidation prior to the full tribunal hearing the matter, and the liquidator accepted the assessments on behalf of EPO. Annex for allegation 1 Mr Ansari was aware that the risk of Missing Trader Intra-Community (“MTIC”) fraud was rife in the wholesale of drinks industry, or ought to have been aware thereof because: On 18 December 2003 a letter was sent in respect of MTIC advising that soft drinks was among the commodities regularly involved in VAT fraud within the EU and advising EPO to validate the status of new customer/suppliers with a specific HMRC office; A list of the information that was required was also listed on the letter. He attended his first meeting with HMRC on 24 November 2006 where due diligence was discussed. On 15 February 2007 a letter was supplied outlining the Means of Knowledge and referring to Notice 726. A copy of Notice 726 was issued on 27 September 2007. On 30 June 2010 HMRC provided a letter in respect of MTIC fraud, advising of a new office to contact for requests for verification of the VAT status of new customers. A copy of Notice 726 – ‘Joint and Several Liability’ was also enclosed along with lists of the information that should be sent to HMRC in respect of new or potential customers/Suppliers. On 26 August 2014 HMRC issued a VAT Fraud Alert: Alternative Banking Platforms; amongst other things on this letter was the need to “know your customer checks.” He attended further meetings with HMRC between 30 August 2007 and 11 November 2015 where due diligence was discussed. At the 11 November 2015 meeting, he received a “tax loss letter” which referred to purchases that EPO had made from a supplier between 1 April 2015 and 30 June 2015. The amount of transactions was 241 with the tax loss amounting to £760,000 approximately. A further letter concerning tax losses in EPO’s transactions with a further supplier was sent to EPO on 11 December 2015. This letter included 79 transactions between 1 July 2015 and 24 July 2015 resulting in a tax loss of over £210,000. The Kittel principle was explained to Mr Ansari. The HMRC conclusion to the meeting was that due to the type of goods traded by EPO, there was a risk of these being involved in supply chains with potential tax losses. On 22 August 2016 Mr Ansari telephoned HMRC to make enquiries in respect of a specific supplier, he was advised that it looked like there may be tax losses in the supply chains that involved this supplier and Mr Ansari was advised to take this into consideration when determining whether to continue trading with this company. On 22 September 2016 a letter concerning tax losses in EPO’s transactions with this company was sent to EPO. The letter included 114 transactions between 7 January 2016 and 3 March 2016 resulting in a tax loss of over £335,000. On 1 October 2016 a meeting between officers of HMRC and Mr Ansari and his advisor were held at the trading premises of EPO during which a discussion in respect of the “tax loss” letter sent to EPO and dated 22 September 2016 was discussed. HMRC were concerned as tax losses had earlier been found with another supplier for trade in the last 6 months of 2015. HMRC’s conclusion was that due to the type of goods traded by EPO, there was a risk of these being involved in supply chains with potential tax losses. On 31 May 2017 a further visit was undertaken by HMRC, its current activities and further plans were discussed. HMRC confirmed they had concerns in respect of one of its suppliers. On 13 December 2017 a meeting between officers of HMRC and Mr Ansari were held in London to discuss business activities and tax loss letters. Mr Ansari advised he had read Kittel but does not validate all new supplies through HMRC, as he has been told it’s not efficient. The HMRC conclusion to the meeting was they would continue with ongoing checks with concern over the level of tax loss deals since 02/16. The trading in which EPO was involved had features which put, or should have put, Mr Ansari on enquiry about the legitimacy thereof, as follows: On 11 November 2015 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of purchases made from a company. It advised that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made by the company commenced with a defaulting trader, and that 241 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between 1 April 2015 and 30 June 2015 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £760,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 11 December 2015 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of purchases made from a company. It advised that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made by the company commenced with a defaulting trader and that 79 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between 1 July 2015 and 24 July 2015 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £210,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 30 June 2016 EPO were informed that a company with which they had been dealing had been de-registered and they were asked to provide evidence of due diligence checks they had undertaken on the de-registered company. On 22 September 2016 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of purchases made from a company. It advised that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made by the company commenced with a defaulting trader and that 114 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between 7 January 2016 and 3 March 2016 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £335,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 24 January 2017 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of purchases made from a company. It stated that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made by the company commenced with a defaulting trader and that 145 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between 7 March 2016 and 31 May 2016 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £425,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 29 June 2017 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of recent purchases made from a company. It stated that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made from a company commenced with a defaulting trader and that 103 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between1 November 2016 and 30 January 2017 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £385,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 17 October 2017 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of purchases made from a company. It stated that “Enquiries made by HMRC have established that sales made by the company commenced with a defaulting trader and that 117 transactions undertaken by EPOIPO between 1 March 2017 and 31 May 2017 therefore commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £380,000”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 22 March 2018 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of the verification of the VAT returns for the 08/17 and 11/17 period. It stated “As a result of our enquiries in respect of your 08/17 and 11/17 VAT return periods, we now know that 67 of the transactions (where the whole chain has been established) commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £182,768”. On 12 July 2018 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of the verification of the VAT return for the 02/16 period. It stated, “As a result of our enquiries in respect of your 02/16 VAT period, we now know that 73 of the transactions (where the whole chain has been established) commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £188,351”. A list of the invoices was provided. On 26 September 2018 HMRC wrote to EPO in respect of the verification of the VAT returns for the 02/18 and 05/18 periods. It stated, “as a result of our enquiries in respect of your 02/18 and 05/18 VAT return periods , we now know that 67 of the transactions (where the whole chain has been established) commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £111,768”. HMRC have stated there were a variety of factors that show contrivance in the transactions undertaken including, EPO never held sight, sighted or inspected the stock, often stock was delivered directly to the EPO customer, the deals were back to back and either completed on the same day or within a very short time-frame, there were no contracts or insurance in place, EPO were always able to fulfil orders from customers even when received in advance of a purchase; suppliers down the chain not, apparently having knowledge of their immediate customer but having knowledge of EPO suggesting a control and/or influence over the more extended supply chain. Despite being aware of VAT fraud in EPO’s trade sector and engaging in transactions bearing the features of such fraud, Mr Ansari failed to ensure that EPO carried out effective steps, checks and/or due diligence in respect of its trade and of its trading partners as follows: On 22 February 2018 HMRC issued a ‘Notification of a Decision to Refuse Entitlement to the Right to Deduct Input tax. The letter acted as a notification of an assessment which affected the total input tax in the periods 02/16 (194 deals), 05/16 (145 deals), 08/16 (154 deals), 11/16 (140 deals) and 02/17 (90 deals) in the total sum of £2,348,290 (later reduced). On 22 March 2018 HMRC wrote to EPO to update them on the verification of the 08/17 and 11/17 VAT periods in which EPO was informed “as a result of our enquiries in respect of your 08/17 and 11/17 VAT return periods, we now know that 67 of the transactions (where the whole chain has been established) commenced with a defaulting trader, resulting in a loss to the public revenue that exceeds £182,768”. EPO were advised to satisfy themselves that they had undertaken sufficient due diligence and were again advised of the examples of checks that they may consider were listed in Notice 726 which had been issued to them. The trading chains in which EPO was involved caused significant losses to HMRC: Every deal under consideration by HMRC has been traced or, otherwise equated on a balance of probabilities basis, to missing and/or defaulting traders. During a visit on 11 November 2015 an officer had handed a Tax Loss letter in respect of purchases made from a company between April and June 2015, amounting to a loss to the public purse. The officer issued a warning and gave various leaflets explaining HMRC’s position, yet despite this EPO continued to trade with the company through to mid-January 2016 resulting in a further loss to HMRC. The due diligence EPO carried out was considered wholly inadequate, consisting of no more than basic and perfunctory checks. This against the backdrop of EPO having been notified in December 2015, September 2016 and January 2017 of huge levels of tax losses in its supply chains which, in the Commissioners view, should have put EPO at the highest state of alert and caution in respect of its suppliers and the supply chain On 20 March 2018 Mr Ansari requested the assessments be reviewed. On 1 May 2018 EPO were advised that a review would be undertaken On 15 February 2019 (after liquidation) HMRC completed their review and amended the claim to £2,317,102. HMRC carried out an independent review and upheld their decision The liquidator accepted the assessment on behalf of the company in the total sum of £2,317,102. 

This information is correct as at 21 / 4 / 2022



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