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Bollywood producer in UK’s most wanted list

world Updated: Jul 19, 2016 18:06 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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Arora, 42, is accused of fraud worth 4.5 million pounds and is said to be currently in India.(Photo courtesy: National Crime Agency)

Sandeep Arora, known in Indian film circles as Karan Arora, has been named by UK’s anti-fraud task force as one of the 10 most wanted for fraud worth more than £20 million.

 Arora, 42, is accused of fraud worth £4.5 million and is said to be currently in India.

The list of most wanted has been drawn up by the City of London Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA) through an initiative led by the former home secretary and current Prime Minister Theresa May.

The NCA said Arora is wanted by the Revenue and Customs for falsely claiming value added tax and film tax rebate for movies that did not exist or in which he had no involvement.

Between 2007 and 2011, he set up a production company with offices in central London and lived in Beckton, east London.

 “He made the VAT and film tax claims for films entitled ‘Billy the Beagle’, ‘London Dreams’, ‘Kuan Bola’, ‘Aagosh’, ‘Trapped’ and ‘Kia the Dream Girl’, but they either didn’t exist at all or he had no involvement with them,” the NCA said.

 Under British tax law, a film production company of qualifying films can claim a cash rebate of up to 25% of UK qualifying expenditure. There is no budget limit, according to the British Film Commission.

In 2013, some Indian-origin people were sentenced for fraud related to claiming tax rebate for non-existent Bollywood films.

The most wanted list also includes Faisal Butt, who is reported to be in Pakistan, wanted for conspiracy to defraud more than 100 bank accounts in Britain, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of pounds being taken from customers.

Butt, along with a bank insider and a number of others in his criminal gang, were able to pass themselves off as genuine account holders and open joint bank accounts linked to existing customer’s main accounts, the NCA said.

Commissioner of the City of London Police Ian Dyson, said: “I would urge anyone who has information on the 10 wanted fraudsters to call officers, as these people will continue to commit fraud across the globe that cause misery to so many worldwide.”

Donald Toon, director of the NCA’s Economic Crime Command, said: “The annual losses to the UK from fraud are estimated to be more than £190 billion. Behind this headline figure lie the actions of criminals like the wanted fraudsters highlighted in this appeal.”