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TV boss facing jail over insurance scam

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: July 10, 2013

By Chris Richards

GUILTY PLEA:  Mohammed Ferdhaus, from Warley, who is facing jail for  his part in a crash-for-cash con

GUILTY PLEA: Mohammed Ferdhaus, from Warley, who is facing jail for his part in a crash-for-cash con

THE Warley-based head of Britain's biggest Bengali TV channel is facing jail for laundering some of the profits of a £3 million "crash-for-cash" scam.

Channel S boss Mohammed Ferdhaus, 40, accepted at least £500,000 into bank accounts under his control, knowing the money had been conned out of insurance companies.

Prosecutors say Ferdhaus was aware the money was being generated by a team of fraudsters led by his brother Samsul Haque.

Haque, now 28, is serving a five-year prison sentence for engineering 123 bogus insurance claims worth around £3 million.

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Many of the luxury motors – including Mercedes, Jaguars and BMWs – were damaged at crash-for-cash drinking parties at Haque's garage in Tottenham, north London.

As music blasted, they rammed the cars into each other and if the damage was insufficient they finished the job with a baseball bat.

On Monday Ferdhaus admitted playing a shadowy role behind Motor Alliance, a firm which raked in at least £1.17 million during the four-year con.

The media mogul had previously denied involvement in the scam, but changed his plea to guilty just as he was due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Prosecutor David Aaronberg QC said: "The understanding is the basis of the plea is on knowledge rather than suspicion, and the acceptance of a minimum amount of £500,000.

"The allegation against him is that he played a background role behind the company Motor Alliance, including receiving funds from the fraud."

Abdul Haque, 33, another of Ferdhaus's brothers, was also accused of laundering money from the insurance scam.

But prosecutors dropped the charges when it was revealed that handwriting on the bank forms filled out in Haque's name actually belonged to Ferdhaus.

Kevin Toomey, defending, asked for sentencing to be deferred for psychologists to assess the ongoing impact of an incident in which Ferdhaus was kidnapped and held hostage.

"It is primarily for a psychological report into this defendant and the consequences of a very serious attack upon him in May 2011," he said.

Ferdhaus was snatched at gunpoint outside his TV station offices in Walthamstow, east London, and repeatedly issued with a £250,000 ransom demand.

When he refused to pay, the kidnappers hung him upside down and poured boiling water over his head, as well as threatening to rape his daughter.

In February last year, businessman Mohammed Hussain, 44, was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap, blackmail and assault causing grievous bodily harm after a month-long trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Ferdhaus was freed on bail by Judge Michael Gledhill QC until his sentencing hearing on September 13, but was warned he could face jail after admitting money laundering.

The judge said: "I am adjourning sentencing for two reasons, firstly in order for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

"Secondly, in order for a psychological report to deal with the incident which led to you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, how that is affecting you now and how that affects you in the short term and long term."

The judge said all sentencing options will be considered, including custody.

Ferdhaus, of Prettigate Farm, Little Warley Hall Lane, admitted possessing criminal property between July 19, 2006 and October 31, 2010.

Samsul Haque, of Lydford Road, Maida Vale, west London, was given five years in October 2011 after he admitted conspiracy to defraud between November 13, 2005, and October 16, 2008.

His lieutenant, Rosul Yusuf, 33, was jailed for four years, while Shalim Miah, 29, received two years behind bars and Halimur Rashid, 28, was jailed for 15 months.

Nazruislam Muhammad Rahman, 32, and Noveed Akhtar, 40, both of whom were named in bogus claims made by Haque's gang, were given 12-month sentences suspended for 12 months.

Paul Ellis, 37, who pleaded guilty to providing six driving licences to Haque, was given a six-month sentence suspended for 12 months.

Ellis and Rahman were ordered to carry out 100 and 140 hours of unpaid work respectively.

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