"a significant sum having been spent by Mr Khan on prostitutes."
A high-flying accountant allegedly defrauded his firm out of £1 million to spend on prostitutes. He could also face jail over claims he lied to a court.
Mohammed Asif Khan was the accountant for Tyneside-based North of England Coachworks Ltd (NECL), the north east’s largest vehicle bodyshop.
However, his ex-bosses are suing him, claiming that he conned the company out of a seven-figure sum.
The 42-year-old drives a Bentley worth £76,000 and wears a £16,000 Rolex watch.
The business claims to have possession of “graphic text messages” proving that the married man spent a “significant sum” of that money on prostitutes.
Khan, who denies the allegations, is being sued in the High Court. In 2019, he had his assets frozen by a judge, while the case against him waits to come to trial.
He also faces being jailed over claims he lied in a document put forward as part of his defence against the £1 million civil claim.
In May 2020, permission to bring contempt of court proceedings was granted by a judge.
Khan tried to have his Bentley, Rolex and £250,000 house in Derbyshire released so he could sell them to pay for a top legal team to battle the contempt of court bid. However, it was rejected.
Mrs Justice Lambert said: “Those proceedings allege that Mr Khan defrauded NECL of over £1 million, including a significant sum having been spent by Mr Khan on prostitutes.”
The judge explained how the contempt application arose, saying that Khan had produced a table explaining the various payments he had made from the company account as part of his defence.
She added: “That table was signed by his solicitor on his behalf and bore a statement of truth.
“In respect of a large number of payments made to – it is alleged – prostitutes, Mr Khan recorded that the sums were paid either on behalf of NECL or for the benefit of his manager.
“Given the existence of relevant documentation and graphic text messages from Mr Khan to the women, committal proceedings were commenced against Mr Khan by NECL alleging dishonesty in his attributing payments made to prostitutes to work-related purposes.”
Khan claimed he has no money to pay for lawyers due to the effect of the freezing order.
He requested permission to sell his assets but the judge refused, telling him that he had not convinced her that he did not have access to other sources of money.
She told him that if he cannot pay, he will have to make do with his current legal aid.
The judge said:
“Mr Khan asserts he has no funds with which to pay for the necessary legal advice.”
“Mr Khan (says he) should not be forced to rely upon legal aid given that there are assets which can be sold to fund private representation.”
She concluded that the accountant had “failed to adduce credible evidence (or indeed any evidence) that there are no others who may be willing to continue to provide financial assistance”.
She added: “I therefore dismiss this application for permission to sell the three assets.
“If private funding cannot be obtained for the purpose of representation at that hearing for any reason, then Mr Khan is entitled to public funding and I expect him to make strenuous attempts to obtain representation from one of the excellent firms who undertake publicly funded committal work.”
Khan’s wife Louise has also had her assets frozen by the order. She also asked the judge to vary the order but her request was refused.
A pre-trial hearing is set to take place in January 2021.