Upper Rissington tax dodger David D'Orazi owed £105,000 in tax
2:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
FAILED businessman David D'Orazi has been convicted of fleeing to Portugal to live the high life with money he should have paid in income tax.
When Revenue and Customs won a court order requiring D'Orazi to pay them £105,000 he sold his house and went to Portugal with the proceeds.
Over the next 11 months he blew £160,000 on high living with his wife - whose shopping tastes included Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Selfridges, Gloucester crown court heard.
The couple eventually could not afford to keep their Portuguese home either and returned to the UK with just £1.05 in one bank account - and an overdraft in another.
D'Orazi, 51, of Lancaster Drive, Upper Rissington, denied defrauding the Revenue and Customs but was convicted this week and bailed for six weeks for sentencing.
Prosecutor Nick Fryer had told the jury that Inland Revenue obtained a county court judgement against D'Orazi for unpaid tax in 2008.
"He wasn't going to let the revenue get their hands on that money. He and his wife just spent, spent, spent."Prosecutor Nick Fryer
Soon after he sold his £750,000 house in West Sussex and, after settling the mortgage and other debts, moved with his wife Amy to Portugal.
"The whole £160,000 went into his wife's bank account and they departed for Portugal where they also owned a house," Mr Fryer said.
"Over the next 11 months they spent the money and by 2009 there was virtually nothing left.
"There was a balance of just £1.05 in one of their accounts and the balance in another account was overdrawn by £187."
The couple defaulted on the mortgage on the Portuguese property and the house was re-possessed at which stage D'Orazi returned to the UK and began dealing with Revenue and Customs about repaying the money.
But no money was ever received and in 2010 Revenue and Customs made D'Orazi bankrupt.
The defendant said he had never intended to default on paying what he owed but had gone to Portugal to set up a new business and had invested the money in that venture.
Mr Fryer told him his prime responsibility was not to invest or spend money but to hand it over to the Inland Revenue.
And he said he allowed his wife to buy expensive items because they were celebrating successful course of IVF treatment.
"I wanted to reduce the stress on her," he said. "I wanted to blanket her as far as possible from what I was having to go through and to provide for her."
The court heard D'Orazi had withdrawn £540,000 in dividends from his company between 2005-2007 and should have paid £106,000 in tax.
"He wasn't going to let the revenue get their hands on that money," Mr Fryer said. "He and his wife just spent, spent, spent."
After D'Orazi was convicted the court was told he remains bankrupt and so far had repaid only £4,500 of the tax debt.
The case was adjourned until October for sentencing.