A Dublin businessman jailed for failing to pay tax on imported garlic will appeal his sentence on Monday.

Fruit importer Paul Begley was jailed for six years for passing off Chinese garlic as apples to avoid paying high customs costs.

His lengthy sentence caused outrage last March with many people condemning it as ‘excessive’.

His appeal will be heard in the Court of Criminal Appeal after the judges agreed to prioritise his case according to the Sunday Independent.

The paper claims that Begley has befriended bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn in the Mountjoy jail training unit.

The report states that 46-year-old Begley ran a fruit and vegetable import business.

Garlic import duty in Ireland is high at up to 232 per cent while other fruit and vegetables have rates as low as nine per cent.

Begley confessed to custom officials that he tried to pass off 1,000 tonnes of garlic as apples.

His sister Aisling appealed to both Irish PM Enda Kenny and justice minister Alan Shatter to shorten the ‘unjust’ sentence.

She asked them: “How can you both sit back and let this huge injustice proceed? How can a judge compare tax evasion to taking a life or sex abuse of a minor?