A London businessman has been sentenced to 12 years for fraud and forgery offences.

Bakhtiar Abbasi was on trial at Southwark Crown Court in a private prosecution brought by two brothers who had invested millions in his supposed property company.

The convictions come more over four years after Abbasi’s company went into liquidation with liabilities of over £14m. Abbasi, with an address of Longleat Way, Feltham was banned from being a director for 12 years in August 2020 after volunteering for his own disqualification.

Official documents show that Bakhtiar Abbasi, 48 in his capacity of director of New Global Investments went into ‘Creditors Voluntary Liquidation’ on 11 March 2019. Mr Abbasi admitted to having assets of ‘nil’ with liabilities of £14,730,277.

Amongst those who had lost money due to the dealings with Abbasi were the Dubai based Siddiqui brothers. They had invested over £4m with Abbasi.

Following a month long trial the judge, His Honour Judge Cole, sentenced Abbasi to 12 years in prison and banned him from being a director for 15 years. 

Abbasi set up his company, New Global Investments UK Ltd in 2014 and began telling people that he was ‘an experienced property trader with access to London properties at below-market prices through an auction house’. 

The Siddiqui brothers who were brought up in London and are now residents of Dubai, were at that time interested in buying property and said they were introduced to Abbasi at a family wedding in London.

Abbasi had claimed a portfolio of £30m worth of properties with a turnover of £75m-£80m per annum.

The Siddiqui brothers provided a deposit of £1,080,000 to buy a property Abbasi assured them he could quickly resell to a third party at a significant profit, backing his assurance with a supposed letter of undertaking from a solicitor acting for the third party promising to provide to provide a non-refundable deposit of £825,000. 

The court was told this letter was later found to be a forgery and the representations in relation to his business dealings were also false; he did not have a ‘portfolio of properties’ let alone one worth £30m.

When it came to returning the expected profit from the first deal, a second and much larger deal was proposed and the deal one profits rolled into the second. The second deal involved a residential property and a commercial property on Oxford Street, London with a combined purchase price said to be £25m. 

The Siddiqui’s were persuaded to invest the sum of £4.1m into the deposit for the deal.
When it came time to return the funds and profits, these never transpired.

According to the brothers they were given cheques which bounced including one for £11m ‘as security’. When this was cashed a few months later, it came back ‘account closed’.

According to the Siddiqui’s lawyers, Abbasi accepted that ‘his company never traded in property and that rather he used the money to pay off creditors for his other businesses, and to support his other businesses’. 

The jury returned verdicts of guilty on all counts.

In his sentencing remarks, the Judge noted: “This was not a case where a legitimate, well-intentioned business turned into a dishonest one through circumstances. 

“It was a fraud from the beginning. I had the chance to observe your evidence over several days and observed your ability to layer lie upon lie as you tried to explain away a sustained fraud which was painstakingly documented by email, WhatsApp and other documents.

“There seemed to be no limit to the levels of dishonesty matched by your levels of greed.” 

Asim Siddiqui said in a statement: “Many have suffered financially and lost significant amounts of money, with some losing their entire life savings to his frauds.

“Ultimately, my brother and I were the only ones who had the means to bring this case to court, so we felt immense pressure and personal responsibility to ensure that nobody else would become a victim of a similar crime by him. He has not shown any remorse or empathy and tried to defend the indefensible, all whilst trying to intimidate us to the very end.

“A huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders now that justice has prevailed, and we can finally begin the process of closure.

“We are grateful to our lawyers EMM and particularly Andrew Marshall and Fani Gamon for the way they recovered the private prosecution which had failed under previous lawyers and successfully concluded the case in our favour.”

Andrew Marshall, Director at Edmonds Marshall McMahon who represented the Siddiqui brothers said: “Having seen off a number of challenges and following lengthy and hard-fought trial process, the jury were unanimous in their guilty verdicts on all counts.

“We are very pleased to have brought this to a successful conclusion for our client whose focus was justice and preventing frauds on others. The very significant sentence is a clear indication of the gravity of the matter.”

An Insolvency Service document from 2020 showed that the company headed by Abbasi ‘failed to provide evidence that all such monies received for the purpose of acquisition of properties was invested in property acquisition and failed to provide evidence of any property purchases or investments by New Global.’

The documents also show that the company ‘failed to provide evidence that all such monies received for the purpose of acquisition of properties was invested in property acquisition and failed to provide evidence of any property purchases or investments by New Global.’

The document said that a Land Registry search ‘shows that New Global does not appear as a registered proprietor of any land or property.’