Wife's 'mercy' plea as €100k tax dodge doctor jailed
A highly regarded GP who dodged the payment of almost €100,000 in income tax has been jailed for 16 months.
Bassam Naser (51), of Howth Road, Sutton, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of delivering an incorrect return in connection with his income tax affairs for the years 2006 and 2007.
The court heard that Naser had a hidden bank account, into which he lodged 1,686 cheques that had been paid by patients attending his clinic.
He was due to pay almost €100,000 in income tax and now owes a further €200,000 in penalties and fees. He had a €100,000 cheque in court to pay the overdue tax.
When evidence was first heard on Tuesday, Naser's wife of 24 years and mother to their seven children stood in the body of the court crying and asked Judge Martin Nolan for "mercy", before she was escorted out by her husband.
Yesterday, Judge Nolan sentenced Naser to 16 months in prison.
"An efficient and good tax system is vital to a good soc- iety," the judge said, adding that it allowed for much-needed services to be provided to the community.
He said Naser had "failed abysmally" and was "morally reprehensible".
"He is a very intelligent man. He knew what he was doing was wrong. He created a mechanism to avoid paying his taxes," the judge said.
Judge Nolan accepted that Naser was a good doctor, a community man who did charity work for his native Palestine and had repaid the owed €100,000, but added: "He knew what he was doing and yet he persisted."
Counsel handed in a "bundle of testimonials" from numerous patients who attended Naser's clinic over the years and who still travelled to see him despite moving away.
Naser's practice work was made up of almost 50pc HSE and 50pc from his private patients.