Arif Patel, aged 55, of Preston, has been convicted of a £150 million tax fraud.

The sock manufacturer and his criminal gang tried to steal £97 million through VAT repayment claims on false exports of textiles and mobile phones.

They also imported and sold fake clothes that would have been worth at least £50 million had they been genuine.

The proceeds were used to buy property across Preston and London through offshore bank accounts.

After a joint investigation between HMRC and Lancashire Police, Patel was found guilty of false accounting, conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, the onward sale of counterfeit clothing and money laundering.

Mohamed Jaffar Ali, aged 58, of Dubai, was also found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the revenue and money laundering.

It was revealed that 24 members of the criminal group were convicted in five trials between 2011 and 2014 and jailed for a total of more than 116 years.

HMRC has also restrained over £78 million of the gang’s UK assets.

Proceedings are now underway to recover these funds for the public purse.

Richard Las, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: