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Tax fugitive snared after Everton match own goal

Published 27/01/2016

The man was arrested at the turnstiles
The man was arrested at the turnstiles

A football fan who fled to Spain to hide from the taxman has been jailed after he was caught sneaking home to the UK to watch his team play.

Everton supporter Damian O'Hagan could not resist coming back for a home game in August last year, and was arrested on suspicion of tax fraud at the turnstile.

He had returned to see the Toffees take on Manchester City at Goodison Park on August 23 last year.

The 60-year-old was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday for evading £91,700 in VAT.

As the director of Foodservice Interim Management Limited, Hagan, from Norris Green, Liverpool, charged one client thousands in VAT that he tried to keep for himself. He fled to Benidorm to run a bar when he realised he was under investigation.

Sandra Smith from HMRC's fraud investigation service said: "O'Hagan knew his business transactions were under scrutiny and the game was up.

"This was one match he wasn't going to win. He chose to pocket the VAT he had collected from his client, at the expense of UK taxpayers, and because of his dishonesty he has been jailed today.

"He now faces a full confiscation hearing to recover the money he stole from the public purse."

O'Hagan, who was running the Neptune bar in the Spanish resort, had pleaded guilty to VAT fraud at an earlier hearing.

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