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paving scam Irish brothers who ran dodgy 'driveway' crew jailed in Sweden for tax avoidance

They were convicted of deliberately transferring €4 million to avoid paying any tax in "an organised and systematic manner".

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John O’Connor will be allowed to remain in Sweden

John O’Connor will be allowed to remain in Sweden

John O’Connor will be allowed to remain in Sweden

Four Irish brothers who ran paving and driveway businesses have been jailed in Sweden for a massive tax dodge.

The O'Connor brothers - John, Edward, Mark and James - were all sentenced to three years and eight months in prison at Stockholm District Court this week.

They were convicted of deliberately transferring €4 million to avoid paying any tax in "an organised and systematic manner".

Three of them will be deported from the country upon release from prison, while a fifth brother, Thomas, is still wanted by prosecutors, according to the judgement published this week.

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James O’Connor was found guilty of the tax scam.

James O’Connor was found guilty of the tax scam.

James O’Connor was found guilty of the tax scam.

John O'Connor won't be deported because he has been living in Sweden for more than 10 years.

The wife of James O'Connor, Chantal O'Connor, was acquitted on a charge of money laundering.

Seized designer handbags, including a Louis Vuitton bag and another bought in Mexico, were returned to her.

Swedish authorities mounted a huge investigation into the brothers and their companies and were supported by the Criminal Assets Bureau in Ireland.

A series of raids and arrests were made in Sweden last October after authorities began investigating the transfer of large sums of money from Edward O'Connor's bank account.

Much of the cash paid by customers to the brothers through their landscaping and driveway business ended up being transferred straight back to Ireland.

The verdict detailed how a large number of different bank accounts were used and several transfers were made between them.

The O'Connors were frequently forced to open new accounts when some banks began to ask questions about the large deposits and transfers being made through the personal accounts.

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Edward O’Connor was sentenced to 3 years 8 months

Edward O’Connor was sentenced to 3 years 8 months

Edward O’Connor was sentenced to 3 years 8 months

Most of the cash had been transferred abroad and when they were arrested "there was almost no money left in any of their bank accounts", the court was told.

The court found the investigators had shown the brothers had worked together and that various companies were part of the same operation.

Thomas O'Connor (37) was also referred to in the judgement this week.

He was registered as the chief executive of one of the landscaping firms.

Thomas O'Connor was found in the same aparthotel as Edward and John O'Connor when it was raided by police in October last year, but escaped before he could be questioned.

"The prosecutor has since searched for him in Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom without success," the court heard.

A Swedish woman who handled their administration, Caroline Lindstrom, was convicted of lesser charges and was not jailed.

She had first met John O'Connor when he did a job for her father in 2010 and she began to help with his business.

Referring to her testimony, the court stated that she said: "John O'Connor is the head of the family. He can be very dominant. His brothers listen to him and respect him. John O'Connor's opinions are very valuable and her view is that this is often what John O'Connor wants."

Chantal O'Connor's evidence that she knew nothing about her husband James's business dealings was accepted by the court.

She was aged between 26 and 28 when the crimes were committed, had several children and didn't get a proper education, according to the court's verdict.

James O'Connor had previously run a business which left a large unpaid tax bill due to the Swedish authorities and changed his name to James Kenneally.

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Chantal O’Connor had her designer handbags returned to her

Chantal O’Connor had her designer handbags returned to her

Chantal O’Connor had her designer handbags returned to her

Chantal had said she couldn't remember when she had told police investigators that James Kenneally and James Darren O'Connor were different people.

In the published judgement it was stated the crimes the brothers are convicted of "may be considered very serious."

"It appears to be well planned and has been committed together and in agreement with others. It has targeted fiscal interests and typically affects other legal players in the industry in terms of competition."

Prosecutors had asked the brothers to be deported from the Kingdom of Sweden when they finished their sentences.

It was found by the court that "it can be assumed that they will be guilty of continued crime in the country. Thus, the general conditions for deportation are met."

However, because John O'Connor had lived in Sweden for ten years his case did not reach the standard needed for his deportation.

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A vehicle registered to Mark O'Connor

A vehicle registered to Mark O'Connor

A vehicle registered to Mark O'Connor

Prosecution documents in the case revealed the scale of the investigation carried out by the authorities into the O'Connors' business.

It included using a code-cracking firm to download the contents of iPhones and a Macbook seized by police.

Hundreds of receipts, emails, texts and bank transactions were traced and documented to build up the case against them.

A family tree of the brothers, the firms and their Swedish associates makes up just one of thousands of pages included in the investigation file put before Stockholm District Court.

Investigators laboriously linked payments to their firm from customers which were then transferred to accounts controlled by family members.

Most of the customers who dealt with the brothers were happy with the standard of work that had been carried out.

Police even tracked down footage from ATMs to show how the brothers shared bank cards from different accounts using cash that should have gone through the business.

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