Nottingham restaurant owner jailed for VAT fraud

The owner of a restaurant in Nottingham’s city centre has been jailed for pocketing the VAT charges made to customers.

A HRMC investigation found that Ali Elbahtini Ibrahim, 48, owner of Marrakesh Moroccan bar and restaurant, kept £55,000 in VAT charges for himself.

Investigators went to the restaurant and paid for a meal in cash but later found there was no record of the transaction on the establishment’s business records.

Between February 2012 and April 2016, he voided cash payments removing them from till records to hide the restaurant’s actual sales and avoid paying tax.

Richard Young, assistant director, fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “Ibrahim made a deliberate decision to not disclose his sales in an attempt to avoid his tax obligations and keep the cash, and now he’s paying the price with a criminal record.

“Criminals like Ibrahim create an uneven playing field for the honest majority.That’s something we will not tolerate.”

Ibrahim pleaded guilty to the charges at Nottingham Crown Court and was sentenced to 19 months on 11 April.

The restaurant will remain open and will be run by Fathiha Fouzar, Ibrahim’s wife and Marrakesh Moroccan’s co-owner. She claimed that business would run as normal and that customers wouldn’t be affected.

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