Convicted mobsters stole £145,000 from Covid support loans despite one having 48 convictions
TWO mobsters stole £145,000 in Covid kickback loans – despite one having 48 convictions.
Asif Hussain ran a £3million international network exporting stolen luxury cars to Dubai, but still received £50,000 of taxpayers’ money.
And fellow gang member Ibraaz Shafique has received £50,000 and £45,000 in loans to help businesses battling the pandemic.
Now a judge is demanding an explanation – insisting ‘the most basic check would have revealed the fraud’.
It was the second time the same judge has spoken out about Covid fraudsters appearing at Manchester Crown Court.
In November he demanded to know how a drug gang accused of plotting to kidnap and rob an elderly businessman obtained a £25,000 Covid loan.
Earlier this month, Hussain, who has 48 convictions, and Shafique, were convicted of using businesses in Wigan and Oldham as cover for loans.
Hussain, 44, was jailed for 15 years for his chop shop ring and Shafique, 23, for five years.
Judge Anthony Cross QC said: “The public is entitled to an explanation of how these loans were obtained.
“This explanation must be made public. I demand an explanation from the competent body within 14 days.
Last night shadow Treasury minister Pat McFadden said the scam had exposed weaknesses in the system.
He said: ‘The government simply did not respect taxpayers enough to take warnings about the risk of fraud seriously.
Official estimates suggest nearly £5bn of the £47bn loaned out could be lost to fraud.
Around a quarter of all UK businesses have applied for loans. But the National Audit Office said a lack of credit checks made the system “vulnerable to fraud and loss”.