An Irish man has been surrendered to British authorities for failing to pay a decades-old multimillion-pound fine for tax evasion.
Daniel O’Connell (65) spent three years in an English prison in the early 2000s for one of the UK’s biggest ever VAT frauds.
As part of his original sentence, O’Connell was made subject of a £6.3 million confiscation order, which he has not paid, and which has grown to about £13 million at an accumulated interest rate of £1,294 per day.
UK authorities said they had been seeking O’Connell, with addresses at Ballybrack, Clonlara, Co Clare and Roseneath, Corbally, Co Limerick, for several years. He was arrested in Ireland on foot of a European arrest warrant in 2017 and extradition proceedings have been ongoing.
On May 10th, the Supreme Court rejected O’Connell’s latest legal challenge and he was surrendered to UK authorities by detectives from the Garda extradition unit last month.
O’Connell’s six-month trial at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in 2000 heard that the then London-based businessman lived a millionaire’s lifestyle and lavished diamonds from royal jewellers upon his mistress.
The fraud involved the purchase of computer chips and other components in London, claiming they were destined for companies in Ireland and would therefore not be liable for UK VAT.
However, O’Connell sold the computer components to his own network of companies in England, pocketing the VAT, some of which he allegedly stashed in offshore bank accounts in the Bahamas, Belize and the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean, his trial heard.
Between 1996 and 1999, O’Connell paid just £32,000 tax to the UK authorities, when he was supposed to pay £20 million.