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Oxford: Blake Morgan lawyer plays key part in proceeds of crime case

By Dan Teuton
13 April 2015

An Oxford lawyer has helped secure a settlement that will see tens of millions of pounds from the proceeds of crime being returned to the UK’s public purse.

Chris Potts, a partner in Blake Morgan’s commercial litigation team and an expert in fraud cases, acted for Griffins Insolvency Practitioners as the lead lawyer in a series of claims aimed at recovering money from a Caribbean bank at the centre of a notorious VAT fraud.

British insolvency firms working on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs have now reached a settlement with the First Curacao International Bank (FCIB), which was used to criminally launder millions of pounds stolen from the exchequer through so-called “missing trader” and “carousel” frauds.

The frauds involved gangs repeatedly importing and exporting small, high-value items such as mobile phones while illegally avoiding VAT. More than 2,500 individuals suspected of this kind of fraud were found to be banking with FCIB, which is now being wound down.

The settlement opens the door for further VAT claims in Europe, Dubai, the Americas and Asia and the Far East, and is ultimately expected to result in more than £80 million being returned to the exchequer.

Potts, based at Blake Morgan’s offices in Seacourt Tower, Oxford, said: “This has been a case that has taken some time and it is great to see a sizeable sum has been recovered for the exchequer.

“The welcome outcome in this action will hopefully mirror many more successes in insolvency litigation in the future with some hopefully facilitating funds to flow back into the UK economy.”

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