One strange feature of Gordon Brown's Budget back in March was that our dour Chancellor had nothing to say, let alone do, about the great VAT fraud which has been going on for two years or more, costing honest taxpayers enough to skew Britain's trade figures.
Every month National Statistics accompanied its numbers with a warning that we should take some of them with a pinch of salt. Shadowy "missing traders", NS explained, were importing container-loads of mobile phones VAT-free from other EU countries, selling them on with VAT added to the bill, then vanishing without paying the VAT.
Then, more ingeniously, after a string of deals to cover the tracks somebody exported the phones again - they could as well be computer chips, anything small and valuable - and claimed a refund of VAT that was never paid in the first place.
That done, they could import the phones all over again. It became known as the "carousel".
Month after month the statisticians repeated their warning. Nobody knew how much the fraud was costing, only that it must be a scary sum. Month after month the dreaded VATmen at what became HM Revenue & Customs failed to stop it. They were stumped. So was dour Gordon. He bashed family trusts instead.
Then yesterday, as the Commons was slogging through the small print of the Finance Bill to make the Budget proposals law, Dawn Primarolo, the Paymaster General, popped up with an amendment.
This will empower the Customs to make regulations to make the buyer of this item, or that, not the seller, liable for the VAT. She revealed that the scam had cost an estimated £1.9 billion in "stolen VAT" in the 2004/5 tax year. It could well be much more now.
Ms Primarolo's wheeze cannot be quite a simple as it sounds, or they would have tried it before. It could lead to some very rough justice if the Customs wield their new powers somewhat over-enthusiastically.
Why on earth, though, did Gordon Brown and his crew do nothing about it before?
Ken Lay, Texan buddy of President Bush and convicted fraudster-in-chief at Enron, has dropped dead while waiting for the American courts to sentence him. He was almost certainly going down for decades.
Meantime he was on bail, living in style in the glitzy Rocky Mountains resort of Aspen, Colorado and talking of an appeal.
It is a marked contrast with the prospect awaiting the "NatWest Three" once they are extradited to Texas - uncharged and un-convicted - where they could spend anything up to two years in a Texas slammer waiting for US prosecutors to set up the case against them. That is because they are foreigners and considered more likely to run away than Americans.
There may be something in that. American corporate fraudsters, possessing ample funds to make off to Latin America, buy a new identity and settle into an inconspicuous life there, one and all opt to stay put for an American court to pack them off to an American jail for half a lifetime. Odd people.