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On-the-run fraudster sentenced to seven years

On-the-run fraudster sentenced to seven years

The director of a sub-prime loan company found guilty of fraud and false accounting has been sentenced to seven and half years in prison, despite having fled the country.

Waheed Luqman was director of Lexi Holdings, a Manchester-based property finance company and along with his brother, Shaid Luqman, worked to defraud creditors of the company, including Barclays Bank, from 2000 to 2006.

Lexi Holding, initially named Pearl Holdings (Europe) was established by Shaid in 2000 with funding from Barclays and renamed in 2004. It superficially provided bridging loans for individuals and companies wanting to invest in property.

According to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) banks, mostly Barclays, provided Lexi Holdings with large amounts of capital based on agreement that ‘there was a great deal of trust involved’.

The money obtained by Lexi was then diverted and recycled through various bank accounts held in different names and trading entities which were hidden from its internal accountants, auditors, Barclays and other banks.

The Lexi accounts were doctored to create a false picture of the company’s profitability and creditworthiness. The money was drained out of the company to family members in Pakistan.

Lexi went into administration in 2006 with debts of over £100 million.

Waheed Luqman was sentenced to seven and a half years for conspiracy to defraud and four and a half years for each of the two counts of conspiracy to falsely account. The sentences run simultaneously.

Waheed Luqman absconded in August 2011 after he was charged and is thought to be in Pakistan. He was tried in absentia.

His brother Shaid Luqman, the main perpetrator of the fraud, fled the UK in June 2011 before he could be charged and a warrant remains outstanding for him.

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