Businessman given three months to repay tax bill

Cotswold Journal: (7674185) (7674185)

A BUSINESSMAN who fled to Portugal and spent £105,000 he should have handed over in income tax, has been given three months to repay the money from his pension fund.

At Gloucester crown court on Friday Judge Jamie Tabor QC was exasperated that almost a year after David D'Orazi first appeared before him he has still not managed to come up with the cash.

Judge Tabor said he was now drawing a 'line in the sand' and giving D'Orazi only until September 19 to pay his dues to Revenue and Customs.

The judge made it clear D'Orazi, aged 52, of Lancaster drive, Upper Rissington, will face a tougher sentence if he does not hand over the money by that date,

Last August, D'Orazi was convicted of defrauding HM Customs and Excise of £105,024,46.

The court heard that after the Revenue got a court order against him he sold his house and went to Portugal with his wife where they blew all cash on luxurious high living and designer goods.

Last October Judge Tabor deferred sentence on him for six months to enable him to liquidate his £300,000 pension pot so he could satisfy the HMRC demand, which has now risen to £148,000 because of interest charges.

But at last week's hearing when D'Orazi returned to court, his barrister Roger Carne said it had still not been possible to extricate the money from his Zurich and Shell pension funds.

The judge had asked a police financial investigation officer, Alan Hopkinson, to look into the situation and find out why D'Orazi still has not been able to get the cash.

After making enquiries Mr Hopkinson said he had established that a Bath Building Society account has been opened to receive the pension money but no funds are in it yet.

The director of the company arranging the transfer 'just happens to be Mr D'Orazi's wife,' said Mr Hopkinson.

"She assures me that the paperwork for the funds held by Zurich and Shell will be lodged with them next week and within four to six weeks the money will be paid into the Bath Building Society," he said. "I told her it might need to be hurried up."

During Dorazi's trial the court heard that after leaving the country to go to a home they owned in Portugal he and his wife spent £160,000 in 11 months on high living including buying goods from Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Selfridges.

The couple eventually could not afford to keep their Portuguese home either and returned to the UK with just £1.05 in one bank account - and an overdraft in another.

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