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SFO nets £1.52m from suspected Birmingham fraudster

15 March, 2019 | Case Updates

EDIT, 14/06/2021: The title and first line of this press release were corrected on 14 June 2021.

EDIT, 2/12/2021: The arrest warrant for Nisar Afzal was withdrawn in July 2021

The SFO has secured the forfeiture of over £1.5 million from suspected fraudster Nisar Afzal, 61, of Birmingham.

The forfeited money came from the sale of two properties in Birmingham, which Afzal originally bought with the funds from a series of long firm frauds.  Afzal, who fled Britain for Pakistan in the mid-2000s, was also implicated in a series of mortgage frauds, for which his brother, Saghir Afzal, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for 13 years.

The development is believed to be one of the largest seizures of its kind in the UK and is the SFO’s first use of this enforcement tool, brought in under new powers from the 2017 Criminal Finances Act.

Mark Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at the Serious Fraud Office 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.

Prior to the forfeiture, the money was subject to an account freezing order to prevent Nisar Afzal from withdrawing funds.

Notes to Editors

  1. Nisar Afzal forfeited all funds held in the relevant UK bank account following a court order at Westminster Magistrates’ Court late on 14 March 2019.
  2. The total forfeiture order is £1,522,756.72. This is the total available funds resulting from the sale of two properties in which Afzal had an interest.
  3. The Criminal Finances Act 2017 amended the Proceeds of Crime Act to enable law enforcement agencies to freeze and forfeit money held in bank accounts and building societies that resulted from unlawful activity or is intended to be used to support that activity.
  4. Nisar Afzal was implicated, but not charged, in a fraudulent mortgage scheme the SFO investigated and prosecuted in 2011.
  5. An arrest warrant for Nisar Afzal was withdrawn in July 2021.

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