A BID to confiscate proceeds of crime from the jailed Hashtroudi brothers has started, the HMRC has confirmed.

Bournemouth siblings Shahab Hashtroudi, 64, Shahin Hashtroudi, 58, and Hedayat Hashtroudi, 68, built up an entertainment empire of restaurants and pubs across Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey.

They were sent to prison for a combined total of 14 years, last month, for stealing £3million in a complex tax fraud.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Fraud Investigation Service assistant director Richard Wilkinson, speaking immediately after January's Southampton Crown Court sentencing hearing, said: "The money they failed to declare is the equivalent to the starting salaries of 165 nurses for a year."

The trio, whose business interests included the Alcatraz Caffes at Horseshoe Common in Bournemouth, and High Street, Poole, employed around 250 members of staff at their height. The Alcatraz Group was established in 1974 and expanded across 15 outlets, but from October 2008 the brothers established 11 companies, all which failed leaving huge debts. Some of these companies failed to pay a single penny in VAT to HMRC, while stealing the income tax and national insurance contributions of their employees.

Yesterday, an HMRC spokesman confirmed: "Confiscation proceedings are under way to recover the proceeds of crime."

It is unknown exactly what assets the brothers have, as many of the venues they ran are likely no longer under any of their names.

Now the proceedings are underway, a certain amount of legal wrangling is expected to take place – alongside further investigations by the HMRC team.

Initial court proceedings have been scheduled for December this year.

From this point onwards, more information should be made public about exactly what assets the HMRC has targeted.

During their sentencing hearing the court heard how the brothers all lived in lavish homes, in the plush Talbot Woods district of Bournemouth.

Shahab Hashtroudi, singled out as the ringleader by the sentencing judge, drove a Porsche and sent his child to private school.