Mike Hughes, who worked for the Inland Revenue during the 1980s, is now in jail for using a string of offshore and UK bank accounts and companies to steal £6.9m via fraudulent payroll schemes.

Hughes and his co-conspirators split the money, which should have gone to HMRC.

In September 2011, Hughes left the UK, going first to Chile and Dubai before eventually settling in Northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaty with Britain. In January 2018, HMRC investigators arrested Hughes when he landed at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Turkey. His three co-conspirators had already gone to jail in October 2016 for their part in the fraud, receiving a total sentence of 19 years.

Hughes received convictions on three counts of conspiring to cheat the public revenue, one count of money laundering and two counts of false accounting and furnishing false information. This month, he finally went to jail for his part in the fraud. He received 9.5 years for conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, a further 3.5 years for false accounting and six years for the money laundering offence.

Alison Chipperton, HMRC’s Assistant Director of the Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Hughes and his criminal fraternity were driven by greed, abusing systems that are designed to ensure workers are paid correctly and taxes paid to HMRC. Hughes deliberately fled the UK and moved to a country without a UK extradition treaty in an attempt to evade justice. He was arrested as soon as he returned to the UK and is now paying for his crimes.”