HMRC seizes first NFT haul in suspected VAT fraud
HMRC confirmed yesterday that it had secured a court order to detain crypto assets worth around £5,000 and three digital artwork NFTs, which have yet to be valued.
The move is part of an investigation into a suspected, organised value-added tax (VAT) fraud involving 250 alleged fake companies. Three people have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to defraud HMRC of £1.4m.
The development was first reported in the Daily Telegraph and confirmed by the BBC.
HMRC’s deputy director of economic crime Nick Sharp told the BBC that the UK tax office’s actions demonstrated its capacity to trace crypto assets, to crack down on suspected evasion and to ensure that individuals pay the right tax.
“We constantly adapt to new technology to ensure we keep pace with how criminals and evaders look to conceal their assets,” Sharp added.
With individual NFT works by digital artists such as Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann being sold for millions it is perhaps inevitable that fraudsters would follow.
The news comes as NFT trading platform Cent closed most of its transactions last week to address the sale of fake and plagiarized tokens.
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