Two Preston men who were sentenced to prison after they were convicted of playing parts in a massive VAT fraud have had their convictions quashed by top judges.
Abdullah Allad, 34, and Adam Umerji, 35, were each given 12-year jail sentences in June 2011 after they were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court. The pair had been accused of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and a money laundering plot in relation to VAT refunds on imported mobile phones.
Their appeals went to the Court of Appeal in London last month and yesterday senior judges returned to court to overturn the convictions.
Lord Justice Treacy, who heard the case with Mr Justice King and Mr Justice Turner, said the jury’s guilty verdicts were unsafe.
Allad, of Black Bull Lane, and Umerji, of St John’s Court, Broughton, will face a retrial of the allegations.
Mr Umerji and co-defendant Abdullah Yusuf Allad were both absent from the hearing. Mr Umerji was convicted and jailed for 12 years for conspiring to cheat the revenue out of money.
He was also given a concurrent five-year sentence for his part in exporting illegal gains out of the country in a bid to conceal them.