1) Could there be any truth in a government agency running such an illegal activity?
Well, Customs declared London City Bond fiasco a ‘sting’ but the blowing of almost £2 billion over a period of three/four years for this purpose defies credibility. Red flags were raised from other excise teams within Customs about the mounting losses and yet no one at managerial level and beyond lifted a finger to put an end to these activities.
What challenges Customs’ assertion that it was a sting was the fact that before NIS EXCIRT took over LCB, fraud was negligible and as soon as they left the volume of fraud dropped overnight. So if there were few fraudsters to begin with what was the point of running a sting? Saying that you had to run an almost £2 billion loss making sting to catch the big fish when there were hardly any fraudsters to begin with is utterly bizarre but running a covert operation in the guise of a sting to benefit from excise duty is not.
The whole thing burgeoned in 1995 after Bernie Small, NIS EXCIRT, and handler of LCB’s managing director, Alf Allington, had come on the scene with the result that at the height of the frauds around 50 lorry loads were going out a day. So where on earth did all these fraudsters suddenly come from?
Maybe Customs’ historic drugs stings offer a clue. Customs sent drug liaison officers to embassies round the world to cultivate informants, who would then bring the drugs into the UK under the protection of Customs officers and were then let lose to select their targets setting up deals with dupes while Customs officers waited to grab the them.
As there weren’t many fraudsters around, procuring innocent participants would have had to have been an essential part of Customs’ ‘sting’ as it had been in the drugs cases. And then where did all the booze suddenly come from to fulfil the fraudsters’ requirements? Customs agents must have been bringing it in just as their informants were bringing drugs into the country.
The Met investigation into this huge loss to the taxpayers took years and ended with no prosecutions with the Met declaring it wasn’t in the public interest to proceed.. The Met had bountiful evidence of Customs lying on oath, perverting the course of justice and so on. Their decision only makes sense if all those involved at all levels were all doing what was required of them. The excuse of not being informed or not knowing about such huge losses by the Excise Board is frankly untenable.