Courts Seize Seven Homes From Drug Trafficker

Property worth millions recovered by National Crime Agency

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A house in Chiswick was one of seven homes owned by a man serving a prison sentence for drugs offences, whose assets have been stripped by the courts.

Amir Azam, 43-years old, is currently serving a four-year sentence in Wandsworth Prison after being convicted of drug offences earlier this year. He had put some of the properties in the names of family members. The assets seized totalled approximately £3.3million.

A Civil Recovery Order was granted against five of the seven homes in Isleworth, Hounslow, Chiswick, Greenford and Hillingdon, as well as money from five bank accounts located in the UK and Luxembourg.

The National Crime Agency had launched a civil recovery investigation against Azam, in a bid to recover the proceeds of his criminality.

The remaining properties – two homes in Southall and Hounslow – were given the go ahead to be recovered by the High Court last week.

Mr. Azam, who had previously been held in prison in the United Arab Emirates but released on appeal in 2010, had claimed that he was forced to sign a confession in that country that he was a drug trafficker and that he had been tortured. His case was highlighted by the Fair Trials International group. Lawyers in the UK had previously fought against the court order to seize the UK assets.

Stephanie Jeavons, Deputy Director of the NCA's Economic Crime Command said: “Azam and his extended family were able to enjoy the fruits of his drug trafficking without interruption for many years.

“He thought he could get round the law by putting the homes in family members’ names. He was wrong.

“Rest assured, the National Crime Agency will continue to pursue and disrupt those that seek to benefit from assets derived from serious and organised crime."

The Civil Recovery Order was granted on 24 September 2014 and sealed on 16 October 2014 against five of the seven properties - Amir Azam, aged 43, currently imprisoned in HMP Wandsworth and his former wife Kalsoom Sanam. On 30 October 2014 a judgment was made in the High Court at RCJ against the further two properties.

November 3, 2014