The British Embassy in the UAE has paid tribute to the work of Dubai authorities for their role in the return to the UK of one of Britain's most wanted tax fugitives.
Geoffrey Johnson, who was involved in complex fraud in the UK, including the theft of more than Dh800 million and laundering of more than Dh6 billion, was deported from the UAE last week after the authorities caught him travelling to the country from Kenya on a false passport.
Steve Baker, Regional Manager of the UK's Fiscal Crime Liaison Network, said, "Tackling trans-national crime requires a cohesive international response, and this result demonstrates co-operation at its best. Johnson had been on the run since 2014 and as the net closed, he believed he could illegally enter Dubai from Kenya to evade capture. The skill and professionalism of the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and the Police Wanted Persons unit quickly put a stop to that. Using a combination of investigation and world-class technical capability, they were able to identify his false travel documents. Having decided to deport him back to the UK, the UAE authorities worked in partnership with the UK to arrange his safe return to face justice."
"Johnson will now face over 24 years in prison for his serious crimes and this should be a warning to others who commit crimes like this or abscond from justice. HM Revenue and Customs will relentlessly pursue you and your criminal assets wherever in the world that may be. There are no safe havens," Baker added.
Geoffrey Johnson fled the UK along with his son Gareth in July 2014 to avoid jail. He was sentenced in absentia on 9th September 2014 to 24 years imprisonment. On his return to the UK last week, a court added a further six months to his sentence for his failure to appear at his original trial. Gareth Johnson remains a fugitive, and anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact the HMRC UK fraud hotline on +44 (0)80 788 887.