The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has seized and sold two properties worth £1.5m that were owned by an on-the-run fraudster who was implicated in £49m of mortgage frauds.
The forfeited money came from the sale of two properties in Birmingham which Nisar Afzal originally bought with the funds from a series of long-term frauds.
Afzal, who fled Britain for Pakistan in the mid-2000s, was also implicated in a series of mortgage frauds worth almost £50m.
His brother, Saghir Afzal, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for 13 years for the crimes but Afzal has stayed in Pakistan since and an international arrest warrant for him remains in force.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered the forfeiture of all the funds held in Afzal’s frozen bank account last week.
The total forfeiture order is £1,522,756.72, the total available funds resulting from the sale of two properties in which Afzal had an interest.
Fugitive from justice
The SFO said the development is believed to be one of the largest seizures of its kind in the UK and was the body’s first use of this enforcement tool.
Serious Fraud Office chief operating officer Mark Thompson said: “Nisar Afzal decided to become a fugitive from justice instead of remaining in the UK to answer for his activities.
“Our actions send a clear message to anyone involved in fraud, bribery or corruption – that we will work tirelessly to get back the proceeds of your crimes.”
The money recovered will be returned to the Treasury and invested in public projects.
Owain Thomas is features and contributing editor of Mortgage Solutions and editor of Specialist Lending Solutions.
He also has experience in the protection, pensions, workplace benefits and HR areas.
Owain has won two Headline Money Awards and the Protection Review’s Journalist of the Year award.