back to article UK computer dealer Aria PC loses £750k VAT fraud appeal attempt in THAT case

Aria PC has lost its appeal against a previous legal ruling that the reseller took part in a VAT carousel fraud to the tune of £750k – though its MD insists the firm will appeal the ruling again. Mr Justice Roth and Tribunal Judge Richards, sitting in the Upper Tribunal’s Tax and Chancery chamber, threw out Aria Technology Ltd …

  1. DJV Silver badge

    I hope he paid the VAT on all those spades he must have bought for digging that hole deeper and deeper!

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      No, He'll just return them as not fit for purpose when his 2nd appeal gets refused.

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        Hope he pays the restocking fee when he returns them.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      You pay VAT when you sell spades. You claim VAT back when you buy them, if they are for legitimate business purposes, eg you trade as a hole digger.

      1. Dave's Jubblies

        He certainly seems to be making that a central part of his business proposition...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >he must have bought for digging that hole deeper and deeper!

      Cue Diggy Diggy Hole

  2. Velv Silver badge
    Boffin

    When does the criminal trial start?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: when does the criminal trial start?

      Criminal trials are for poor people.

    2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      IIRC

      If I recall the particulars of this case, a number of people and companies up and down stream of the fraud have in fact been convicted.

      This is why no-one is disputing that these goods were part of carousel fraud.

      Aria is disputing that they knew they were part of the fraud.

      Based on what was said, then either Taheri is the most trusting and possibly incompetent businessman, paying for a large amount of goods and delivering them without any guarantee of payment, and also failing to do any due diligence, or he was to some degree in on the deal.

      I suspect that he was just greedy and foolish, and was used as a way to try and legitimise the transaction rather than was in on the whole fraud.

      Not sure putting him in jail would help.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: IIRC

        That's a bit defamatory. Mr. Taheri is obviously trusting, unselfish and generous almost to a fault. He is also not litigious in any way. I would trust him with my savings. At least, the ones in Venezuelan bolivars.

      2. Aqua Marina Silver badge

        Re: IIRC

        Yes, with VAT carousel, it could be either one 2 companies who bought and sold the goods onwards before you who committed the fraud, or one of the 2 companies who bought and sold the goods on after you sold them that could have committed the fraud.

        Analogy, I could sell a crow bar today to a wholesaler, who a week later sells it to a building firm, who a week later gives it to one of their employees who uses it to break into a house. By HMRCs reasoning I didn't perform due-diligence that the end user wasn't going to be a criminal, and as proof they point to the use of the crow bar by a criminal ergo due-diligence couldn't have been performed. HMRC tend to use the same carousel reasoning when they decide who is guilty of carousel fraud.

        All is not lost. The purpose of the tax tribunal is to always find in favour of HMRC so no real shock there. Real court however, where this will now appeal to, has a much higher bar when it comes to the burden of proof of intent. It's real court where the majority of carousel fraud cases fall down simply because the prosecution have rarely been able to prove that you can know what is going to happen to goods, once they are out of your possession, two or more transactions down the line, and sometimes the criminals just need a third party to buy and sell the goods on legitimately to complete the loop.

        1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: IIRC

          The point with VAT carousel (or any similar fraud) is that if you only deal with reputable traders and are paying fair market price for goods in a normal course of business you'll never get caught out.

          Aria are, at least to my understanding, a company that buys wholesale and sells retail. So purchasing a large amount of retail boxed CPUs is reasonable. Buying them and selling them in a series of individual sales is normal business. All you need to do is trust your wholesaler.

          If you are acting as a wholesaler, then you have a responsibility to ensure the whole chain of supply. Right back to the manufacturer. So that you're not selling fake or stolen goods to your customers. Since this is how good are "laundered" into the market, you have to make sure the transactions are legitimate.

          One of the things you shouldn't be doing as a wholesaler is buying goods from A, whom you've not done due diligence on, and selling them to B, again no DD, for goods which you have also not done any DD on. If these are for a class of goods you have been specifically warned about, then it's just asking for trouble.

          To give a better analogy, you are a gold bullion dealer. There have been warnings that a theft of a large number of sovereigns has occurred. You are then visited by two gentlemen, one of whom wishes to purchase a large number of sovereigns, for 90% spot price, and another who wants to sell you a large number at 80% spot.

          Do you:

          A) Walk away. Something stinks

          B) Knowing something stinks, hold your nose and take 10%

          C) Everything is fine, nothing about this is suspicious, trebles all round

          "sometimes the criminals just need a third party to buy and sell the goods on legitimately to complete the loop."

          Thus you avoid being the third party. Too god to be true often is...

          1. Caffeinated Sponge

            Re: IIRC

            Are (B) and (C) not actually the same response?

  3. The Dogs Meevonks

    I stopped buying from them a few years back, their prices haven't been competitive for years.

    1. MR J

      That's because the prices now include non-refunded VAT. ;)

  4. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Holmes

    It couldnt happen to a nicer company.

  5. Richard Jukes

    Look at this from their perspective. Have purchased the items. Paid for them and for the VAT. Sold them and not been paid and now cannot reclaim VAT. That's almost 4m they are out of pocket.

    They have indeed been had over. However they should have done their due diligence checks.

  6. Vulture@C64

    As somebody who made the mistake of buying from Aria years ago and was sold a used, broken part as a brand new item and then had to get the credit card issuer to refund the difference between the cost and what Aria refunded, it gives me great pleasure to know that their 'business practices' also hurt them as well as their ex-customers like me.

  7. Wyliecyote

    on a wider note

    Banks have been doing similar stuff in Europe, but I'm willing to bet my prized 486sx50 that no bankers go anywhere near a court...

  8. Jake Maverick

    Ha ha! i have no sympathy for this bugger....I used to trade with them good 15 years + back....sold me a bunch of dodgy cpu fans, wrecked motherboards and cpus....convinced me to send the evidence to them so they could 'verify'.....and promptly destroyed said evidence....cost of postage out of my pocket to. Long and short of it they destroyed my business, nearly went bankrupt over it....I suspect deliberately as I was a competitor as well as a customer.....at the time they couldn't even answer their phones....hour and a half once i let it ring, nobody picked up......these scoundrels are as dirty as they come......not to mention margins on PC equipment are very tight....so how can this joker afford to pay the lawyers for continuing to drag this all out if he's not been ripping people off?

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