16 October 2014
A lawyer who commited a £1 million tax fraud has gone on the run, but while he can flee a jail sentence, he can't outrun his place among the Dodgy Solicitors.

Shameer Sacranie, a director of Leicester firm SFS Legal, was arrested in 2011 after an investigation into tax avoidance schemes. Authorities discovered that when Sarcenie acted on property purchases he understated their value in his submissions to HMRC, and so paid over less stamp duty land tax than was properly due to the taxman and that he'd been given by his clients.

Sacranie pocketed the difference, which after 139 finessed sales over several years added up to over a million. When he was arrested Sacranie told police he was taking advantage of a "loophole in the legislation", a bit like how an armed robber takes advantage of a loophole in the legislation when they blow the doors off a Securicor van.


During his two week trial at Nottingham Crown Court in September, Sacranie, who was at one point carrying on his scam while crowned the Leicestershire Asian Business Association Solicitor of the Year, proved to be a slippery customer. Mainly by not being there. Prosecutor Simon Worlock explained that Sacranie, despite having his passport seized, had "somehow acquired another" and fled the UK. Worlock said he was last heard of in Dubai, but, surprisingly, "no address was given. I believe he may now be in Algeria, where he has got married during these legal proceedings". Sacranie probably won't be returning after the honeymoon, since he was sentenced to ten years in prison in absentia.

Sacranie's barrister threw in the towel in mitigation, saying “I’m afraid I haven’t got any ammunition." He did suggest leniency on the basis that the solicitor was going through a divorce, until the judge pointed out, “I understand it was only because he was already married to someone else".
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