A businessman whose home was firebombed in the summer is now under investigation for tax fraud, we can reveal.
Chris Lessani’s Glasgow home was among more than a dozen addresses raided by officers from HM Revenue & Customs last week. The early-morning operation in Glasgow and Edinburgh also saw searches carried out at Sanctuary nightclub and burger chain BRGR. Lessani, 37, runs Sanctuary and previously said he owned BRGR.
The dawn raids on November 23 are connected to a probe into alleged tax fraud. A source said: “There is a wide-ranging investigation into the business dealings of Chris Lessani. Officers from HMRC arrived early on November 23 at his address and a number of premises he’s been involved in running. They carried out searches in connection with suspected income suppression and failing to declare taxes.”
It is understood there have been no arrests but HMRC officers examined electronic tills and seized laptops and paper files.
Lessani was targeted in a suspected fire-raising incident at his home on August 6. His car was set alight and the blaze spread to the house in Duthie Park Place, Knightswood. He and his family were unharmed.
Lessani’s security cameras captured two suspects using an accelerant but Police Scotland said last night no one had been arrested or charged and enquiries were continuing.
In April 2017, Sanctuary was targeted by two fire-raisers who reversed a burning car into the building in Glasgow’s west end. The pair fled and flames from the stolen car spread to the nightclub. The building housing Sanctuary was sold last year to a businessman who has also been targeted by fire-raisers.
Brendan Hegarty, who bought the venue, which is still run by Lessani, for £650,000, drafted a private security firm for help after his £3 million home in Glasgow was hit by fire twice in 24 hours on May 19, 2021. The attack was on the same day former Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell’s £2m home in Thorntonhall was engulfed in flames after three cars were set alight at the property.
The previous day, two cars – a Land Rover and a Mercedes – were torched in a daylight attack on the home of nightclub boss James Mortimer in Bothwell, Lanarkshire.
The Post contacted Lessani who replied with a message asking what the inquiry was about and when told it was regarding the HMRC raids he did not respond.
HMRC declined to comment: “We cannot make any comment on the tax affairs of individuals.”
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