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Actors and cricketers abandon stolen cars

Posted by Tania Mirza Saturday, June 4, 2011

A British businessman and a North Korean diplomat are facing charges of running a multi-million pound racket of stolen super luxury cars.

The duo were evading hefty import duties by claiming the cars were for diplomatic use, while in actuality they sold it to rich and famous at half the original prices, London's The Telegraph Group reported.

The smuggling operation came to fore following a tax investigation that forced the nervous buyers, including Bollywood superstars and cricket players scrambling to abandon the vehicles and avoid arrest.

Among the 40 cars that are currently impounded are models like Porsche Panameras, sold in India for £250,000 (Dh1.5 million), a Bentley Continental Supersport, costing £350,000, several Aston Martin Rapides, with a price tag of £290,000, and a Maserati costing £170,000.

According to officials from India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the scheme to cheat its tax authority out of millions of pounds centres on a British-Indian car dealer in Britain who arranged shipments to India where demand for luxurious cars is insatiable.

Detectives hope to take their investigation to London where a number of Britons are suspected of involvement. They are also preparing to approach North Korea and Vietnam to uncover more information about the roles played by their diplomats in New Delhi. Investigators believe they were lured into the scheme by dealers to exploit diplomatic tax concessions. Duties on imported luxury cars are 100 per cent of their import value.

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