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Michael Bolton jailed for two years over VAT fraud

  • 07/03/2016
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Michael Bolton jailed for two years over VAT fraud
Former Clayton Euro Risk boss Michael Bolton has been sentenced to two years behind bars for dodging £130,000 in VAT payments before fleeing the country to Spain.

According to a report in the Exeter Express and Echo, Bolton, 50 (pictured), from Prees in Shropshire, swindled the taxman out of thousands of pounds while using different company identities through MB Consulting and Bolton Capital Structures. He used fake VAT numbers on £900,000 worth of invoices and failed to pass this money onto HMRC.

Sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Friday, Bolton’s fees charged to clients were said to be ‘eye watering’. Bolton was not present and also without representation at the hearing, and faces immediate arrest and imprisonment if he returns to Britain.

At Bristol Crown Court last year, a jury found Bolton guilty of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT, after he broke the conditions of his bail and fled the country.

Bolton had informed investigators before jumping bail that he had paid the money in cash to a Swiss accountant called Paulo Greener, but no evidence of the man’s existence was ever found.

Addressing the court on Friday, Judge Graham Cottle said: “You used bogus numbers, so you issued what were in effect forged documents. You provided a bogus explanation of having paid cash to a man called Paulo in Switzerland who had failed to pass it on to the revenue.

“In effect, you are now on the run and your exact whereabouts are not known, although it is believed you may be in Spain. You are quite clearly a fraudster. This was carried out over a period of time with some sophistication.”

Prosecutor Ian Fenny said that Bolton had been given the benefit of the doubt and granted bail but “cynicism was well founded” when he did not show up for the trial.

“We have been unable to trace any assets in this country. Bolton is married to a Brazilian and may have property in Brazil. The revenue are also aware of contacts in Gibraltar but we are unable to recover any realisable assets,” he said.

“This was a substantial fraud on the revenue but the money has clearly been dissipated and we cannot see any creative method of retrieving it.”

Bolton left Clayton Euro Risk in November 2014 and was replaced four months later by former chief executive of Britannic Money, Tony Ward.

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