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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
PC jailed for leaking information
Ghazi Kassim
Ghazi Kassim was sacked by the Metropolitan Police
A police officer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for accepting money to pass on information to a Saudi Arabian intelligence officer.

Ghazi Kassim, 53, was paid to leak information on dissidents by a Saudi embassy diplomat, the Old Bailey heard.

He admitted three charges of public office misconduct by misusing his position to gain and sell information about people of Middle Eastern origin.

He had also been researching radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Kassim passed his information to Dr Ali al-Shamarani, a third secretary at the embassy, who flew out of Britain shortly before Kassim was arrested in July last year.

A married man with three children, Kassim had been a policeman for 15 years but was sacked after his arrest.

'Significant cash payments'
Your greed had the possibility of putting people at risk
Judge Peter Rook

On Monday, the court was told 14,000 had been traced to Kassim's bank account.

Roger Smart, prosecuting, said: "Ghazi Kassim conducted research into private individuals using confidential databases held by the Metropolitan Police.

"He received tasking from Dr Ali al-Shamarani to go to question people at their home addresses, which he did."

Mr Smart said: "He did not declare he was a police officer when he did this, nor did he declare for whom he was carrying out this research.

"He received significant cash payments for his work from the Saudi diplomat."

Mr Smart added: "At the very least, his greed and /or other motivation has in effect risked putting into the hands of a third party information that would not otherwise have been freely obtained."

Misuse of intelligence

Kassim had used a police computer to research the registration number of the car of Saudi dissident Muhammad Al-Massari.
Abu Hamza al-Masri
Kassim had been looking for information about Mr Abu Hamza

He had also used another computer system to obtain police press cuttings on the cleric Abu Hamza, Mr Smart said.

In another incident, Kassim had called at the west London home of members of the family of a former prime minister of Sudan, claiming to be a local community officer investigating a break-in. This was not true.

He left after obtaining telephone numbers of other members of the family. Michael Wolkind, defending, said Kassim had met Dr al-Shamarani because their children attended the same school.

He had not realised the diplomat was an intelligence officer and believed he was gathering information on people who had applied to the embassy for financial help.

Grave breach of trust

Judge Peter Rook told Kassim he had abused his position with "grave breaches of trust" for "considerable profit".

He added: "Your greed had the possibility of putting people at risk.

"I accept nobody has been harmed directly because of your actions.

"At the very least, you closed your mind to the potential of the information you were disclosing."

Kassim was also jailed for six months to run concurrently for having a CS gas canister at his home.

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