By Claire West
A Lancashire businessman has been jailed for eights months and ordered to pay £30,000 costs for supplying radiation detection equipment to Iran after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Phillip Bisgrove, 57, of Morecambe, Lancashire, is the owner of NDT Mart, a company that exports non-destructive testing equipment. He was questioned by HMRC investigators about his export activities, particularly those involving sales of dosimeters to an Iranian company called Sakht Afzar Farayand Eng Co (SAFCO).
HMRC officers searched Bisgrove’s home, taking emails, invoices and other documents as evidence that he had known all along that his deals were illegal. Emails from his contact at SAFCO, Peyman Rostami, had even discussed shipping goods via Dubai, Malaysia and China in order to avoid export licence controls. To try to cover his tracks, Bisgrove had also paid a separate company, RSM Motorsport, to ship and receive goods on behalf of NDT Mart.
When interviewed by HMRC, Bisgrove tried to mislead, avoid and confuse issues regarding his deals with the Iranian firm, claiming he did not know a license was required to export the dosimeters. However, when faced with the evidence — particularly his own e-mails — he admitted he knew all along he needed a license for the exports to be legal.
Peter Millroy, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:
“Phillip Bisgrove knew he was breaking the law by sending this equipment to Iran, but he went ahead with the deal because he put personal profit before everthing else. This case shows that those who flout the law in this way will be identified, investigated and if convicted will receive a prison sentence.”
Confiscation proceedings are underway