Racing driver finishes last with three-year jail sentence

A company director, who funded his hobby racing sports cars across Europe through a £450,000 tax fraud, has been jailed for three years and four months

Simon Atkinson was already under investigation by HMRC for anti-money laundering offences when officers unearthed the £450,000 tax fraud, which he used to finance his passion for racing Lamborghinis in competitive motor tournaments.

Atkinson raced at tracks including UK’s Brands Hatch and Belgium’s world-famous Spa circuit in the Supercar Challenge, and entered the 24-hour Series Barcelona race twice and the Maxi Endurance 32 hour in Portugal’s Algarve.

The tax fraud came to light after Atkinson’s halal poultry processing company, IHP Ltd, was investigated for failing to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. When analysing the company’s records, investigators discovered that Atkinson had falsified invoices, asking companies to invoice his personal motor racing expenses as business costs.

Investigators found multiple invoices, dated between 2011 and 2015, listed as ‘transportation’ and ‘engineering services’. In reality these invoices were for high-end motor car servicing. In 2011 he even paid for a racing Lamborghini, claiming the cost of the racing car as a legitimate business expense under machinery costs.

He funded his motor racing by fraudulently claiming the costs as business expenses, receiving £112,186 in VAT repayments, and evading £338,630 in Income Tax.

Atkinson has paid back most of the stolen money and on 17 December, at Luton Crown Court, he was jailed for three years and four months and ordered to pay back the remaining £30,125 within 42 days.

Report by Amy Austin

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