Crooked ex-Enta boss Jason Tsai’s 18 month jail sentence is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ according to many within the Channel. The Former Enta boss was jailed for 18 months, late last week. Found guilty of breaching a passport order, Tsai was also convicted for hiding assets from HMRC during Changtel’s insolvency. In total the High Court found Tsai guilty of 30 of the 53 alleged breaches that he was being tried for. Offences included hiding various bank accounts and properties from HMRC during its investigation, and also breaching orders preventing him leaving the country.
Dave Stevinson – the man left with the near impossible task of clearing up the mess at Enta, before it finally folded earlier this year – believes that Tsai’s sentence is just the beginning of this ‘sorry saga’. "Contempt of Court is a serious crime and a custodial sentence is not uncommon," he said. "Evidently there will be much more to come in relation to the VAT investigation of Enta Technologies and Changtel. So this is far from the end of the sorry saga."
And Stevinson is not alone in his thinking. Alex Tatham of Westcoast, was one of many who said that ‘it serves him right’. In fact, many believe that Tsai got off lightly for his crimes. Director at IBA Stuart Smith thought a 15-year jail term would have been more befitting of Tsai’s actions. “The prison sentence was far too lenient,” he said. “For the amount of money owed to HMRC and the damage done to the industry he should have received at least 15 years. Sentences this lenient will not deter the next Jason Tsai from committing the same deception where the rewards outweighs the punishment. In six months he could be out on parole and heading to Taiwan to possiblly spend the £8.6 million.”
Tsai’s defence included claims that he was depressed, suicidal, ill and struggled with the English language. In response, the judge said that Tsai's defence was wholly unbelievable. "In giving evidence Mr Tsai displayed no difficulties with either short-term or long-term memory, with levels of concentration or with tiredness," she said. "His answers to questions were at all times pertinent and coherent, even if, as I have held, they were mostly untrue. Mr Tsai's behaviour in the recent litigation was not out of character as Dr Moore appears to have been told. It was in keeping with much dishonest behaviour over a number of years both in his general business dealings and his conduct during the earlier court proceedings brought by HMRC. Mr Tsai has been a man of substantial resources, both financial and intellectual. I do not believe that he has suffered the kind of serious, debilitating cognitive impairment that Dr Moore describes over that whole period without seeking medical assistance and there is no evidence of that."
Changtel Solutions – formerly known as Enta Technologies – was found to owe the UK tax authority £15.5 million in VAT liabilities when it filed for insolvency in 2015. Since then HMRC has claimed that it is owed more than £42 million by the defunct company. Earlier this year Tsai was also banned from being a company director in the UK for 13 years. He has also had assets totalling £27.4 million frozen, after Changtel’s liquidator Begbies Traynor filed proceedings against Tsai for breaches of the Insolvency Act 1986 in February. Tsai was also handed a travel ban, which he breached when flying to Taiwan earlier this year.
Tsai claimed that he only travelled to visit his ‘sick wife’, but during this time his wife was found to have travelled to Singapore to transfer £8.6 million oversees. The judge ruled that evidence of his wife’s illness was falsified.
The judge also ruled on a £2.3 million loan allegedly made by Tsai’s sister-in-law to Entatech UK in 2014. Sold to Dave Stevinson in 2015, Tsai claimed that the loan was made by his sister and therefore must be repaid in full by 2018. However, the judge ruled that the money had come from Tsai, not his sister-in-law, and thus the repayment has been scrapped.