Diamonds among £2.5 million assets seized from VAT fraudster

Land, property, jewellery and cash amounting to more than £2.5 million has been recovered from a man involved in extensive VAT fraud.

The Crown Office's civil recovery unit (CRU) first secured forfeiture of Ronnie Decker's assets in April 2016 but he raised a legal challenge to keep some of the items.

The assets, held in countries around the world, will now be handed over after the case settled out of court.

The Crown Office said Decker, who is originally from Sierra Leone and was educated in Scotland, was involved in fraud alongside Michael Voudouri and Mohammed Sarfraz Sattar through the company Q-Tech.

Voudouri is currently serving a prison sentence, while the CRU recovered more than £1.2 million from Sattar.

Diamonds and designer watches seized from Decker were sold at auction in London in December and raised more than £130,000.

Some of the jewellery has been sold at auction, raising £130,000 (Crown Office/PA)
Jewellery sold at auction fetched £130,000 (Crown Office/PA)

Other assets included in the settlement were £82,000 found in cash in his house, more diamonds, a house valued at £380,000, and money from investments, bank accounts and a pension policy.

CRU head Denise McKay said: "Ronnie Decker set out to line his own pockets and deny the public purse of millions of pounds through a systematic abuse of the VAT repayments system.

"Uncovering the fraud involved a financial investigation that spanned the globe and required the cooperation of numerous agencies in many different countries.

"I am delighted that the case his settled and that money will finally benefit Scotland's communities."

HMRC worked to examine bank accounts as part of the investigation.

Charlie Merrick from HMRC fraud investigation service said: "This was a complex and lengthy investigation, but we are committed to recovering money to fund the public purse and this result is testament to the strong partnership between HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service and the Civil Recovery Unit.

"We are dedicated to ensuring that those who owe money to HMRC pay in full."

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