DPP Business Tax

Diversion Fraud

Our team of solicitors is highly experienced in the complexities of diversion fraud, and, as such, are capable of building a strong defence on your behalf.

It may be that you did not understand that the actions you were taking were illegal, or a paperwork mix-up may have seen you holding the wrong documentation while the goods in question were intended for the UK market all along.

The term “diversion fraud” refers to the diversion of alcoholic or tobacco-based goods – specifically heavily regulated items such as wines, beers and spirits – into the UK market in an illegal manner.

Individuals most commonly accused of this offence are the owners of the goods themselves, owners or employees of the haulage services utilised, wholesalers and vendors or distributors involved in selling the product on.

Diversion fraud may occur when goods being warehoused in the UK that are – according to their relevant Accompanying Administrative Document – officially set for export to another EU country and are currently under duty suspension are instead diverted into the UK market. This is known as outward diversion fraud.

A similar offence may occur when goods are imported from an EU country to an excise warehouse in the UK, also under duty suspension, but are then illegally distributed throughout the UK market. This is inward diversion fraud.

Both offences are seen as attempts to ship goods into the UK while illegally avoiding payment of duty.

Offences Related to Diversion Fraud

A charge of diversion fraud may include allegations of:

  • Outward diversion fraud (or outward excise fraud)
  • Inward diversion fraud (or inward excise fraud)
  • Contravention of customs law
  • VAT, Invoice and Payment Fraud

A suspect may also be faced with HMRC seizure of goods.

The maximum penalty for diversion fraud is up to 5 years in prison, however, exact punishments are calculated with regards to the value and nature of the items being shipped, and the sophistication of the alleged scheme involved.

Offences that are considered less serious may carry community service penalties or fines. It’s hard to know exactly what punishment you may be facing if you are arrested for this offence, so it’s important to contact expert diversion fraud solicitors to assist you straight away should this occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is inward diversion fraud?

You may be accused of inward diversion fraud if the Accompanying Administrative Document of any alcohol that you are transporting into the UK from the EU under duty suspension states that the goods are bound for a UK-based excise warehouse when in actual fact those goods are illegally diverted into the UK market.

What is outward diversion fraud?

Outward diversion fraud occurs if an Accompanying Administrative Document states that the alcohol you are transporting is to be shipped from a UK warehouse to another EU country under duty suspension when in actual fact those goods are illegally diverted into the UK market.

Our diversion fraud solicitors are experienced in handling cases that feature both inward and outward versions of these behaviours.

What is the penalty for diversion fraud?

An individual found guilty of diversion fraud may face community service, a fine or, if the value of the goods was high or the operation particularly sophisticated, up to 5 years in prison.

If you are facing allegations of this particular offence, the diversion fraud solicitors at DPT & Partners may be able to assist you.

After more than 20 years of experience in representing clients accused of fraud, our Business Services legal team is highly capable of building a strong diversion fraud defence and offering you the best opportunity of a positive outcome for your case. Contact us today.

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