A man arrested in south Armagh in connection with a suspected £70,000 VAT fraud said he believes his arrest was an attempt at “humiliation” because he spoke out during the flag protests earlier this year.
Pastor Barrie Halliday was questioned by officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for four hours on Tuesday.
Speaking to the News Letter on Wednesday Pastor Halliday, who is a director for victims’ group FAIR, said: “I believe this was just an attempt at humiliation. I have been very vocal during the flag protests and I am unrepentant about that.”
Around eight police vehicles and a helicopter were involved in the operation, said Pastor Halliday.
HMRC said officers searched a business address in the Armagh area where they seized business records relating to the fraud.
John Whiting, HMRC Assistant Director for Criminal Investigation, said: “HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade the taxes they owe should expect not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well. Anyone with information about people who may be involved in tax fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
A HMRC spokesperson said the man arrested was released on bail to appear at a police station at a later date.