“The public are entitled to an explanation"
Two gangsters received £145,000 in Covid support loans, despite one having 48 convictions.
Asif Hussain ran an international ‘chop shop’ ring worth £3 million, exporting stolen luxury cars to Dubai.
He led the gang, who called themselves ‘The Company‘.
They operated ‘chop shops’ at old mills in Bury and Oldham, as well as a unit in Wigan, where stolen cars were stripped down.
Cars were stolen with the help of high-tech gadgets, allowing keyless entry.
Over 95 luxury cars were stolen and during a 12-month period, a total of 11 shipping containers were shipped.
During the trial, Judge Anthony Cross QC said senior members of the gang knew how the cars came into their possession.
He said: “This was a professional operation led by career criminals who were motivated by profit and greed, and who cared for not one moment how the expensive vehicles came into their possession.”
Despite his criminal operation, Hussain still received £50,000 of taxpayers’ cash.
Fellow gang member Ibraaz Shafique received £50,000 and £45,000 in loans meant to help businesses struggling in the pandemic.
A judge is now demanding an explanation, stating that “the most basic of checks would have revealed the fraud”.
Earlier in January 2022, Hussain, who has 48 convictions, and Shafique, were found to have used businesses in Wigan and Oldham as cover for loans.
Hussain was jailed for 15 years over his chop shop ring.
Judge Cross told Hussain during sentencing:
“Your greed knew no bounds.
“You knew where the vehicles were coming from and how, yet you took them.
“Not content with selling them to the domestic market you formed a new conspiracy and shipped them abroad.”
Shafique was jailed for five years.
On the Covid support loans, Judge Cross said:
“The public are entitled to an explanation as to how these loans were obtained.
“That explanation must be made public. I require an explanation from the relevant body within 14 days.”
On January 28, 2022, Shadow Treasury Minister Pat McFadden said the scam highlighted weaknesses in the scheme.
He said: “The Government simply didn’t respect taxpayers enough to take warnings about fraud risk seriously.”
It is estimated that around £5 billion of the £47 billion lent could be lost to fraud.
Around 25% of all UK companies applied for the loans.
However, the National Audit Office said a lack of credit checks left the scheme “vulnerable to fraud and losses”.