Police are searching for a man to sentence him for his part in an international scam.
Two other men have been sentenced to a total of six and a half years in prison at Hull Crown Court for their part in the international drinks scam where they paid off witnesses and victims after a large scale investigation by West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Unit.
Bradford solicitor Majed Iqbal and Bradford man Zameer Hussain were sentenced at Hull Crown Court on Friday 4 January after a seven week trial during which the Court heard allegations of money laundering and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by bribing foreign victims and witnesses.
Majed Iqbal was told he must spend half of a 5 year sentence behind bars for his part in the paying of witnesses following a long running investigation into the crimes by specialist police investigators.
And Zameer Hussain was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for perverting the course of justice.
The sentencing of a third man – Zameer’s brother, Yassar Hussain for Money Laundering offences and perverting the course of justice - was deferred.
The defendants were sentenced for their part in the scam which involved the setting up a fraudulent energy drink company - Duracell Energy Drinks Ltd - taking orders and offering exclusive regional marketing rights to companies across the globe despite never having a product to sell after Proctor and Gamble refused those involved the license to sell the product using the Duracell brand.
However, through the setting up of fraudulent business accounts the defendants defrauded five drinks companies from Dubai, Hong Kong, Iran and Hungary of over £312,000 in advance fees. The business was closed down in August 2009 before the victims could complain about a lack of supply or non-return of monies.
Between 23rd February and 28th February 2009 the defendants set a stall at the Gulfood Trade Fair at the World Trade Centre in Dubai, duping reps from drinks companies into paying for exclusive sale rights and making orders for the Duracell Energy Drink, of which several thousand dummy cans were made to help facilitate the scam.
After the police were informed, an operation by West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Division was launched and in November 2009 suspects were arrested and luxury cars and nearly £10,000 in cash seized.
In an extra twist, Majed Iqbal, Yassar Hussain and his brother Zameer Hussain were also found guilty of perverting the course of justice after trying to bribe victims and witnesses, offering cash for the retraction of statements and for witnesses not to appear in Court.
They were further arrested in May 2012 at Manchester airport returning from Dubai. Found on Iqbal was a retraction witness statement from a Hong Kong drinks company. Zameer Hussain was also found to have withdrawn £30,000 before leaving for Dubai. Majed Iqbal, a defence solicitor had applied for public money though the legal system to pay for his flight to dupe the witnesses.
– DI Andy Howard, West Yorkshire Police's Economic Crime Team
This was a well organised and convincing scam that conned a number of foreign businesses out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
By also trying to dissuade key prosecution witnesses from attending court and offering cash bribes in a manner that clearly intended to pervert the course of justice, the defendants showed that they knew the seriousness of their crimes.
We are pleased to see justice done and hope that this case sends a message to any like-minded out there: that no matter where they commit their crimes, the police will catch up with them.
Half of a £45,000 Security put up by family and friends of Yasser Hussain was forfeited by the trial Judge because Yasser absconded after the first day of his trial.