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Restaurant owner must pay £1.2m or face seven years in jail

A restaurant owner who laundered stolen cash through his business has been ordered to pay £1.2 million within three months or face an extra seven-and-a-half years in jail.

Yong Hong Lu was jailed for two years last May after an HMRC investigation found he had laundered more than £1m through Bon East Chinese restaurant in Farnham, Surrey.

His wife Huey Jun Khoo, and business partner Jing Fu were also sentenced at the time for VAT fraud, after they used an off-the-books card machine at the restaurant to pocket £180,000 in VAT.

All three have now been ordered to pay back money at a confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month.

Lu must pay £1.2m within three months or face seven-and-a-half years longer in jail. Fu has three months to pay £50,000 and Khoo has been ordered to pay £15,000 within three months. If they fail to do so, they will be jailed for nine months respectively and still owe the money.

The VAT fraud and money laundering was discovered after a surprise visit from HMRC in 2015. Officers found two card reading machines – one linked to a business bank account and the other to a bank account which Khoo had opened in the name of one of the restaurant’s chefs.

Customer payments made into the ‘chef’ account were never declared to HMRC, to evade paying VAT.

Nicola Dunk, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Our work doesn’t stop when someone is convicted, we will always seek to reclaim criminal money and assets.

“Confiscated proceeds of crime are redistributed into the public purse which helps fund vital services such as schools and hospitals.”

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