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Dubai: The British Embassy is lauding authorities in Dubai for helping return to the UK one of Britain’s most-wanted tax fugitives.
Geoffrey Johnson, who was involved in a complex fraud in the UK including the theft of more than Dh800 million and the laundering of more than Dh6 billion, was deported from the UAE last week after the authorities caught him travelling to the country from Kenya on a fake passport.
Steve Baker, regional manager of the UK’s Fiscal Crime Liaison Network, said in a statement on Wednesday: “Tackling transnational crime requires a cohesive and joined up international response and this result demonstrates cooperation at its best. Mr Johnson had been on the run since 2014 and as the net closed, he believed he could illegally enter Dubai from Kenya to evade capture. The skill and professionalism of the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and police’s wanted persons unit quickly put a stop to that. Using a combination of skilful investigation and world class technical capability, they were able to identify his false travel documents and quickly establish his true identity. Having decided to deport him back to the UK, the UAE authorities worked in partnership with the UK to arrange his safe return to face justice.
“Mr Johnson will now face 24.5 years in prison for his serious crimes and this should be a warning to others who commit these crimes or abscond from justice. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will relentlessly pursue you and your criminal assets wherever in the world that may be. There are no safe havens.”
Johnson fled the UK along with his son Gareth in July 2014 to avoid jail.
He was sentenced in absentia on September 9, 2014 to 24 years behind bars.
On return to the UK last week, a court added a further six months to his sentence for his failure to appear at his original trial.
Gareth Johnson remains a fugitive.