Gambian diplomats who turned their embassy in London into a tax-free tobacconist and cheated paying tax of nearly £5m will be sentenced later today.
The group has been accused of ordering 29 tonnes of rolling tobacco – more than half a million 50g pouches – over three years.
The majority of the tobacco which were only permitted for personal use, or the Gambian High Commission, sold the product from the embassy and escaped a duty of almost £4.8 million.
The seven guilty defendants all had their diplomatic immunity waived by the government of Gambia.
Yusupha Bojang, the deputy head of the Gambian Diplomatic Mission in Kensington, first secretary Gaston Sambou, welfare officer Georgina Gomez and finance attache Ebrima John, along with fellow embassy workers Veerahia Ramarajaha, Audrey Leeward and Hasaintu Noah were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the revenue on Monday at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
Ramarajaha was also convicted of dealing, harbouring, concealing or carrying dutiable goods. Another defendant, Ida Jeng Njie, was found not guilty of conspiracy to cheat the revenue.