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'He controlled the entire VAT fraud chain' Huddersfield 'mastermind' faces extradition from Las Vegas to a German court.

Byline: Dave Himelfield News Reporter dave.himelfield@examiner.co.uk

A HUDDERSFIELD tycoon, accused of masterminding one of Europe's biggest tax frauds, is expected to be extradited from the USA to Germany.

Mohammad Safdar Gohir has been in a Las Vegas jail for more than a year and is now awaiting deportation to Germany following a US court's decision.

Gohir, originally of Norwood Road, Birkby, is alleged to have been the leader of an international tax evasion gang which netted over [euro]136m (PS96m).

The 57-year-old businessman was arrested by the US Secret Service while cheering British boxer Amir Khan to victory at the MGM Grand in Vegas, on May 3, 2014.

Gohir, who has business premises in Lindley, is expected to face justice in Germany after a Las Vegas court authorised his extradition.

The hearing at the US District Court, Las Vegas, heard that Gohir led a 'professionally organised' gang which had evaded over 136m euros in VAT, between October 2009 and April 2010.

Gohir is alleged to have run a string of companies in Germany and Dubai which were involved in a complex 'fraud chain' designed to exploit Germany's CO2 emission allowances, the court was told.

Applying for Gohir's extradition attorney Roger Yang said: "The companies Vektor Energie, Roter Stern, Tageslicht Umweltssysteme, and Energie Intelligenz were formed only for this purpose...

"It was in Dubai that Gohir controlled the entire VAT fraud chain ... "Gohir acted behind the scenes and made strategic decisions, but sometimes involved himself in daily decisions."

Presiding over the hearing, Judge Carl W Hoffman said that Gohir was 'found extraditable ... for the surrender of Mohammad Safdar Gohir according to the Extradition Treaty for the violation of laws prohibiting tax evasion."

Judge Hoffman ordered Gohir to be detained by the US authorities until the businessman's extradition receives a final approval by the US Secretary of State.

Gohir's arrest follows a huge operation by Frankfurt prosecutors which included 400 search warrants and numerous arrests, across 12 European countries.

Eight people have so far been convicted for their role in the plot.

Another man is thought to be in German custody and is awaiting trial.

Before his arrest Gohir, a sponsor of Amir Khan, was watching Khan from his ringside seat as he beat Luis Collazo.

Earlier in the evening he tweeted pictures of himself at the arena, posting: "Great night of boxing! Was blessed to be a part of it tonight as a fan." Because of the seriousness of the allegations against Gohir, German police liaised with the US Secret Service to ensure the accused was brought into custody after Khan's fight.

CAPTION(S):

Mohammad Safdar |Gohir with Amir Khan - who is not involved in the investigation - in Vegas. Left (wearing glasses), with Khan and PM David Cameron during the London 2012 Olympics

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 29, 2015
Words:466
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