Man still being questioned in Castlerea over multi million euro VAT fraud

A man in his 50’s is still being questioned at Castlerea garda station in connection with a multi million euro VAT fraud investigation.

It arises out of an multi-agency investigation which began in September 2016, involving VAT carousel fraud of 29 million Euro.

The investigation is being carried out by The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) supported by The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB), Revenue, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), National Crime Agency (NCA) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Agency (HMRC).

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V.A.T. carousels involve more than one jurisdiction and numerous layers to facilitate the alleged movement of goods which in turn leads to the state being defrauded of VAT.

Funds were identified moving through bank accounts across a range of financial institutions linked to various companies in Ireland and Northern Ireland, under the control of an organised crime group.

Large sums of money were subsequently transferred to bank accounts in a number of foreign jurisdictions.

Since the investigation began, numerous production orders have been served on financial institutions and a large volume of documentary evidence was seized.

And in September 2017 fifteen properties, both commercial and residential were searched across four provinces, by the garda National Economic Crime Bureau, a large volume of both digital and documentary evidence was seized.

In May 2019, a women in her 40’s was arrested as part of this investigation in Co. Louth – she was subsequently released without charge.

And on Tuesday, a second person, a man in his 50’s was arrested and is currently detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 for questioning at Castlerea Garda station.

He can be held for up to seven days.