Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drug Fight Wife's Huge VAT Fiddle; Justice Campaigner's Secret Life

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drug Fight Wife's Huge VAT Fiddle; Justice Campaigner's Secret Life

Article excerpt


SHE fought for justice for her jailed hubby - but Emma Vasey led a secret life of a villainess..

When trucker John Vasey was dumped in a French prison cell over a pounds 2.5m cannabis conspiracy, wife Emma claimed they were the ones let down by the system.

All along, though, she was hauling in cash as a key player in a sophisticated swindle that saw the public purse conned out of pounds 1.7m.

And today, the 34-year-old is the one facing jail after she was convicted of being the North East link in the six-year tax con.

Vasey, of Rickleton, Washington, was one of 11 who set up phoney companies and created bogus bills to claim back Government cash on goods they never sold.

While husband John was battling to clear his name after being caught with more than 900kg of dope inside his lorry, she started an "intimate" relationship with one of her co-conspirators.

Liverpool Crown Court heard of Vasey's involvement in the gang, which raked in more than pounds 80,000 a month.

Vasey, also known as Emma Haughn, thrust herself into the spotlight in March 2003 when husband John, then 42, was arrested on his way back from a cargo collection job in Spain.

Police and customs were waiting on the French border and arrested the father-of-one as he made his way to Bordeaux.

The former firefighter and boss of the J D Vasey haulage firm went on to serve 14 months in a French jail, while Emma took her fight for justice to Parliament.

John, who has now split from her, was eventually freed as he appealed his five-year sentence and when that was cut to three earlier this year, he was told he did not have to go back to jail.

Now, it has emerged all along Vasey had become involved in a lucrative scam that saw a large number of bogus businesses set-up and registered for VAT. They were established across England and Scotland and claimed to deal in agricultural food and children's clothes, both of which are zerorated.

They would then file monthly returns to HMRC in a bid to reclaim tax that had never been paid by using false invoices from other phoney firms, at least one such document found on a floppy disk in Vasey's Washington home. …

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