British court jails five over Hollywood blockbuster scam

Five fraudsters who pretended to be making a Hollywood blockbuster as part of a £2.8m (€3.2m) VAT and film tax credits scam have been jailed.

Inspectors were told that A-listers from Hollywood would be starring in a £19.6m (€22.9m) production that would be shot in the UK.

But the film Landscape Of Lives was never made and the only footage shot was seven minutes of “completely unusable quality” filmed in a flat and costing just £5,000 (€5,800).

Bashar Al-Issa, 34, a former Iraqi national who is now British, of Rodney Court, Maida Vale, London, described as the orchestrator of the fraud, was jailed for six- and-a-half years by Judge Juliet May, sitting at Southwark Crown Court in central London.

Actor Aoife Madden, 31, a British and Irish national, of Maclise Road, west London, said to have submitted a “pack of lies” to inspectors about the project, was sentenced to four years and eight months.

Two other defendants in the scam – Tariq Hassan, 52, a Pakistani national, of Willingale Road, Loughton, Essex, and Osama Al Baghdady, 51, an Iraqi national of Lowther Road, Crumpsall, Manchester, received four-year jail sentences.

A fifth defendant, architect Ian Sherwood, 53, of Esher Drive, Sale, Manchester, who allowed his offices to be used for the fraud, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

Judge May said the fraud had been based on an “entirely bogus film project”.

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