BREAKING LONDON SOUTHWARK

A man who set up an illegal Money Service Business (MSB) and bought a £700,000 house with the profits, has been ordered to pay back nearly £1 million

Shunjian Jiang, 30, was arrested in August 2016 after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators found that he was operating an unregistered and unregulated MSB.

Jiang was living in London and buying upmarket fashion items in the UK and selling them on to customers in China. His customers were purchasing the goods with the Chinese yuan and with this stream of foreign currency he started promoting his illegal sterling-to-yuan exchange service on online forums to people in the UK.

From his profits, Jiang purchased a property and maintained a lifestyle he could not legitimately afford. He has now been ordered to pay a £980,059 confiscation order within three months or face five years in jail.

Funds will be raised from assets which are currently under restraint or have been seized. These include a house, £25,000 in designer watches, £41,000-worth of designer clothes and £220,000 held in a bank account.

Nicola Dunk, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Our work doesn’t stop at conviction and HMRC will always seek to reclaim criminal money and assets, which are redistributed into the public purse to help fund vital services such as hospitals and schools.

“Jiang showed a complete disregard for the rules and by operating an unauthorised MSB was funding his lifestyle at the expense of honest businesses and the taxpayer. With this confiscation order we are now recovering money he made from his crime.

“If you know anyone who is operating an unregistered MSB, you can report them to HMRC on gov.uk or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Jiang pleaded guilty to operating an unregistered MSB in July 2019. A search of an East London flat had uncovered more than £40,000 worth of designer clothes ready for export to China and Southwark Crown Court heard that Jiang had spent £465,000 on designer clothing.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to complete 160 hours of unpaid community work. Jiang has since returned to China following his sentence.