Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 20:13 UK

Ex-football boss jailed for fraud

Azwar Majeed
Mohammed Azwar Majeed was a "dishonest and manipulative rogue"

The ex-chairman of a football club in Sussex has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for a five-year tax dodge.

Millionaire businessman and former boss of Crawley Town FC, Mohammed Azwar Majeed, 33, of Brighton, had already admitted cheating the Inland Revenue.

Southwark Crown Court heard he avoided paying up to £750,000 while director of SA Retail, a wholesale alcohol firm.

Majeed bought luxury cars, expensive properties and gave payouts to his "extravagant mistresses".

He failed to declare his withdrawals to avoid paying tax on the extra income, the court heard.

'Manipulative rogue'

Judge Christopher Hardy said: "You quite blatantly used very large sums of cash generated by your business as an almost bottomless piggy bank to fund your own extremely lavish lifestyle."

He said Majeed, who has 10 previous convictions, was not a man of good character and had "developed all the qualities of a dishonest and manipulative rogue" but it was a "relatively unsophisticated fraud".

Around £42m went through Majeed's business accounts, the court heard.

His purchases included numerous expensive cars, including a £600,000 Ferrari Enzo, a Lamborghini Murcielago worth more than £200,000, a Lamborghini Diablo, a Ferrari 355 Spider, a Porsche 996 Turbo, two Bentleys, four BMW M3s, three Range Rovers and a Mercedes.

Mohammed Azwar Majeed's flat
Luxury properties and expensive stereo equipment were purchased

Majeed, who owned a number of bars in the Brighton area, also bought five speed motorbikes and expensive stereo equipment.

He bought a penthouse apartment in Brighton for just under £800,000 in 2006 and a £1.6m property in Hove in 2007, the court heard.

In January Majeed pleaded guilty to cheating the revenue, failure to keep sufficient accounting records and concealing criminal property.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police money laundering team searched a Harrods safe deposit box belonging to Majeed in Knightsbridge, London in October 2006 and seized £505,505 in cash.

The judge sentenced Majeed to three years in prison for cheating the revenue, six months to run concurrently for failure to keep records and six months in jail for concealing the £500,000, to run consecutively.

The money owed to the HMRC - set out as £769,493.41 - will be recovered from Majeed's assets, the court heard.

A confiscation hearing was set for 4 September.

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