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Smuggled gold worth more than £2.5m to be sold at Belfast auction next week

By Deborah McAleese

Published 23/10/2015

Gold bars, bracelets, necklaces and rings were seized by customs officers (File photo)
Gold bars, bracelets, necklaces and rings were seized by customs officers (File photo)

Gold worth more than £2.5m, which was smuggled into the UK by a criminal gang, is to be sold at auction in Belfast next week.

The gold bars, bracelets, necklaces and rings were seized by customs officers during a major investigation into a multi-million pound transatlantic smuggling plot.

Londoner Chaudry Ali, dubbed the ‘24 carat criminal’, bought the gold in Dubai and brought it into the UK via Frankfurt to avoid VAT payments over a two-year period.

Ali had two couriers working for him, who he sent individually to Dubai to collect large amounts of gold jewellery from vendors. The courier would then fly to Frankfurt, and meet Ali in an airside lounge. They would then swap cases, and Ali would pick up the case containing the gold jewellery.

Ali was jailed for nine years in 2012. He was ordered to pay back £4.3m of his criminal profits or serve an extra ten years in prison.

The smuggled gold will be auctioned off next Friday, October 30, at Wilsons Auctions in Belfast.

Guide prices range from £200 to £5000 per lot. The items include Asian gold bracelets, necklaces, rings, a statue and gold bars.

“Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is sentenced; we always look to reclaim their illegal profits for the nation’s finances to fund the public services used by everyone,” said Kevin Newe, of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.

“By auctioning the gold we seized during the investigation we are moving another step closer to bringing this long and complicated case to a conclusion and ensure justice is fully served,” he added.

Aidan Larkin, asset recovery department manager for Wilsons Auctions said: “We are delighted to be entrusted with the sale of the gold on HMRC’sbehalf after such a successful investigation and playing our part in realising the assets so money can go back into the public purse.”

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