A jailed luxury car dealer, who built a property empire with profits from a VAT scam involving Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercedes, must repay £2 million

Sarju Popat, 51, of Rowlands Avenue, Pinner, was jailed for five-and-a-half years for fraudulently claiming back millions of pounds of tax on car sales between 2009 and 2011 after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

He has now been ordered to repay £2 million of stolen tax after HMRC found he used his criminal cash to buy properties in Cricklewood, Hatch End and Muswell Hill.

Popat must raise the cash owed within three months or face additional 10 years in prison and still owe the money.

The fraud involved Popat instructing Manoj Vyas, of Bury Street, Edmonton, and his brother Paresh Vyas, of Observer Drive, Watford, to supply a particular make and model of car.

The brothers would sell the luxury second-hand car to Popat and charge VAT but not pay the full amount to HMRC.

The VAT fraud allowed Popat to export the car at below market value to an associate in Malaysia.

All three men were convicted of cheating the public revenue after a six-week trial in 2015. Manoj Vyas was jailed for four years while Paresh Vyas was sentenced to five years in prison.

In June this year, Manoj Vyas was ordered to repay £91,584.26. His brother Paresh was ordered to repay a nominal sum of £1 due to a lack of assets but HMRC can apply for a further confiscation if he comes into assets in the future.

Nicol Sheppard, acting assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “Popat is being stripped of everything his crimes bought him. We left no stone unturned in picking apart his finances and identifying his assets.

“We will not allow tax fraudsters like Popat to keep the money they steal from the public purse.”