Tycoon held in carousel fraud investigation

Reply Sun 15 Oct, 2006 11:56 pm
Tycoon held in carousel fraud investigation

· Missing Dutch banker tracked down in Bermuda
· Extradition hearing expected this week

Ian Cobain and Ashley Seager
Monday October 16, 2006
The Guardian

One of the world's most enigmatic multi-millionaires was behind bars last night after being arrested during an investigation into carousel fraud, the sophisticated swindle which costs European taxpayers billions of pounds a year.
John Deuss, a 64-year-old Dutch oil trader and banker, was detained by police on Bermuda after his disappearance from his luxury home on the island triggered a week-long manhunt. He is expected to appear in court this week, possibly today, facing extradition to Holland. At an earlier hearing, the court was told that Dutch authorities wanted him for questioning on suspicion of money laundering, handling stolen goods and "being in charge of a criminal organisation".

... ... ...

Carousel fraud: How it works ... what it costs

· Carousel fraud occurs when mobile phones or computer chips are passed round a group of trading firms, in and out of EU countries, with VAT reclaimed each time the goods cross a border

· The fraud has grown rapidly in the past 12-18 months after fraudsters developed "virtual" carousels, pushing money in and out of a bank in Curaçao to create the illusion of payments being made for goods

· Official figures are not available, but losses to the British taxpayer from the fraud could have exceeded £5bn last year and may top £10bn in 2006

· The closure last month of the First Curaçao International Bank, owned by John Deuss, dented carousel fraud severely since 2,500 UK-based carousel fraudsters used accounts there

· The problem is not confined to the UK; EU tax commissioner Laszlo Kovacs told the Guardian this year that EU governments were losing an estimated €50bn (£33.7bn) to the scam
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