Woodford tycoon and ‘friend of Michael Jackson’ jailed for VAT fraud
- Credit: Archant
A businessman who was a close friend of pop star Michael Jackson has been jailed for three years after a fraud investigation revealed he stole VAT money at his central London restaurants.
Gurkirpal Singh Bance, who is known as Dave Bance, 54, of Woodford Road, South Woodford, built a successful business empire through his trading company the Bance Group. But on Tuesday, the tycoon was jailed for stealing £500,000 in VAT.
Bance pleaded not guilty to cheating the public revenue after being arrested in 2013, but was convicted after a trial at Woolwich Crown Court following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
HMRC said he had said publicly his business, which claims to have its own airline, was worth more than £80million.
But it said Bance failed to register the majority of his companies for VAT, or paid minimal contributions to avoid any suspicion of fraud.
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He also bought two restaurants in central London, where he charged customers VAT under the previous owners’ account and kept the money instead of paying it to HMRC.
The Cuban Bar, Ropemaker Street, and The Beauchamp, Knightsbridge, are now closed.
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Bance also attempted to hide some of his income by transferring funds to an offshore company in the British Virgin Isles.