A PRIVATE hire driver who was convicted for his part in a large-scale fraud case has been turned down in his bid for a new licence.

City chiefs refused to hand over two private hire car licences – for Mullen Cars and J Mac Cars – to Cambuslang man Michael Mullen.

He was an associate of John Farrell, who was jailed for more than two years in February after using a VAT tax fraud to repay more than £180,000 he had previously made as a forger.

Mullen, 42, pleaded guilty to owning or controlling registered addresses for false businesses to facilitate the commission of VAT fraud.

He was sentenced to a Community Payback Order and a Restriction of Liberty Order.

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Police Scotland objected to his licence application, stating he was not a fit and proper person. An officer said the force had “serious concerns” over Mr Mullen’s “suitability to hold a licence”.

The committee also heard he had failed to notify the licensing department of his conviction, despite it being a condition of the licence.

His legal representative revealed his client had recently been granted a licence by South Lanarkshire Council. He told councillors how Mullen had held a licence for more than 20 years and had never previously been refused, adding he had admitted his guilt and served his punishment.

The representative said the driver had “against his better judgment” held correspondence that had been delivered to his address “knowing fraud had occurred”.

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However, he said Mr Mullen had “no idea of the scale” and had “allowed his friendship with this person to cloud his judgment”.

“He definitely is sorry about being involved in this,” he added. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Farrell, of Thorntonhall, used fake passports and driving licences to set up bogus companies and bank accounts to fraudulently claim £180,591.20 VAT repayments, a HM Revenue and Customs investigation found.

He laundered £75,000 of the money through a bogus Cypriot account before using it to pay most of a £96,000 confiscation order imposed after he was jailed for five years and eight months for running a huge counterfeiting operation at a factory in East Kilbride producing fake banknotes.