Belfast Telegraph

Coffee chain brothers investigated in £1m HMRC fraud probe

By Mark Edwards

Two brothers have confirmed they are co-operating with an HMRC investigation into a suspected £1 million pound tax fraud.

HM Revenue & Customs raided two private and 16 business addresses on Wednesday and seized computers and business records.

More than 120 HMRC officers took part in the operation which saw two men, aged 49 and 47, and a woman aged 39, all from the Newry area, arrested and later bailed as part of the ongoing investigation.

Damien Garvey (49) and his brother Adrian (48), both from Newry, are directors at the BWL Group, which owns and operates a number of Synge & Byrne coffee shops in Belfast, Derry, Dungannon and Newry.

The pair also own and operate some O'Brien's sandwich outlets in Northern Ireland.

HMRC directed that several outlets operated by the brothers be temporarily closed on Wednesday.

They have all since reopened and are trading normally.

Following the raids, Carson McDowell solicitors, representing the brothers, said their clients were cooperating fully with the relevant authorities.

The solicitors added: "This investigation relates to accounting technicalities particular to the café/outlet industry, and our client is confident that the findings of this investigation will ultimately vindicate them."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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