A businessman has pleaded guilty to using false VAT returns to make money after his company started to fail.

Islam Akram, 43, of Colindale Avenue, Colindale, set up a company called UK’s Best Ltd, trading in the sale of household goods.

But when the business collapsed he turned to an Essex accountant dealing in fraudulent VAT repayments.

The accountant, Shahzad Rubani, had recruited friends and associates to help set up a chain of VAT-registered companies purely to commit fraud.

Rubani amended the company accounts and submitted false VAT returns for his “clients”, claiming repayments that were not due.

While committing the fraud, he also claimed Jobseekers Allowance that he was not entitled to.

Rubani claimed £340,000 in fraudulent VAT repayments and was jailed for four years and three months at Central Criminal Court.

Akram’s sentencing has been adjourned for six weeks.

Three other men have also been convicted for their part in the conspiracy.