Food importer jailed for €1.6m garlic scam

The head of Ireland's largest fruit and vegetable producers has been jailed for six years for a €1.6m scam involving the importation of garlic.

Food importer jailed for €1.6m garlic scam

The head of Ireland's largest fruit and vegetable producers has been jailed for six years for a €1.6m scam involving the importation of garlic.

Paul Begley of Begley Brother's Ltd, based in Blanchardstown, avoided paying customs duty on more than 1,000 tonnes of garlic from China by labelling them as apples.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the import duty on garlic is "inexplicably" high and can be up to 232%.

In contrast, apples have an import duty of 9%.

An examination of his records showed that Mr Begley had been evading customs duty for four years. He is now trying to repay the debt, but still owes €700,000.

Judge Martin Nolan who described Begley as an "asset to the country", told the court it gave him "no joy at all to jail a decent man", but as a deterrent to others he imposed a six-year prison sentence.

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