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Paul Begley in court for his appeal last month.
Paul Begley in court for his appeal last month.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Garlic scam convict Paul Begley out of prison on 'temporary release'

The 46-year-old will now participate in a community return scheme.
Mar 26th 2013, 6:51 PM 12,323 65

DUBLIN BUSINESSMAN PAUL Begley has been granted temporary release from prison.

TheJournal.ie understands the 46-year-old, who admitted to dodging taxes on more than 1,000 tons of imported Chinese garlic, will participate in a community return scheme.

He left Mountjoy Prison today on a temporary basis.

The Blanchardstown-based businessman was initially sentenced to six years in jail for the offence but this was reduced to two years on appeal. Last month, a three-judge court said the original sentence was excessive but noted that the tax-avoidance was significant and the crime premeditated.

Begley, of Dublin importers Begley Brothers Ltd, admitted running a scam from 2003 to 2007 in which he instructed his Chinese suppliers to produce false export invoices labelling garlic as apples.

The import duties on apples are just 9 per cent. Corresponding taxes on garlic can be as high as 232 per cent.

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The fraud allowed Begley to avoid €1.4 million in tax. He has been trying to repay the sum since Dublin Port customs officers discovered the deception in 2007 but still owes about €700,000 .

Read: Garlic importer has jail sentence reduced to two years

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Sinead O'Carroll

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