London fraud: Chinese restaurant owner made millions, declared just £2,000 income
09 Jan 2019

A North London man who falsely claimed his business was a small pottery unit when it was in fact a profitable cash-generating Chinese restaurant has been jailed.

The businessman owned outlets in North Greenwich and at Gun Wharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

He failed to declare cash payments, fraudulently pocketing £1,018,508 in tax, an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation uncovered.

Both businesses used a similar scam when they opened, said HMRC.

In North Greenwich, the Water Margin restaurant registered for VAT in April 2013 and was described as ‘manufacturing pottery with an estimated yearly turnover of £10,000’.

The actual annual turnover was £5.1 million.

In Portsmouth, the Water Margin registered as an Art Illustration Company with a turnover each year of £10,000.

The reality was between February 2013 and March 2016 the figure was £5.3 million.

However, the businessman declared just £2,100 in Self Assessment income between December 2014 and November 2016 despite being a director of both restaurants.

The restaurant went into liquidation in September 2016.

HMRC officers swooped on the North Greenwich eaterie a month after a new company took it over in February 2017, and the owners had mirrored the behaviour of the other companies – being listed at Companies House as being an “artistic creation” company.

The businessman was pulling the strings of the new company from the sidelines, but it never traded.

He was arrested in March 2017, and in late December 2018, HMRC announced that he was jailed for three years.

Richard Wilkinson, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “[He] made millions and paid very little tax, rubbing law-abiding taxpayers’ noses in it. The cash he pocketed was the equivalent to the starting salary of 130 new nurses in London for an entire year.”

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One Response to “London fraud: Chinese restaurant owner made millions, declared just £2,000 income”
Ruslan Danilevich

Ruslan Danilevich January 11, 2019

I found out surprising, that near all Chinese restaurants around and within London China Town (SOHO) do not accept any payment other then Cash or Aliexpress. It is quite unusual, but support the article.

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