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Property portfolio worth £17m seized from organised crime group

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  • 26/08/2020
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Property portfolio worth £17m seized from organised crime group
A gang of organised criminals have had 59 properties worth £17m seized by the National Crime Agency (NCA) following an eight-year investigation.

 

The properties were purchased using proceeds from the importation and distribution of heroin, fraud and money laundering. 

The homes were under the names of the family members and associates of Alam and Ameran Zeb Khan, who have both been convicted on drug trafficking offences on three occasions. 

The majority of the 59 properties were private residential properties, which were rented out in the Bordesley Green or Selly Oak areas of Birmingham. Three properties were located in Bangor, Northern Ireland. 

One of the larger properties recovered by the NCA was a house worth £235,000 in Birmingham, which was under renovation to become the Zeb Khan family home.  

Two of the properties were made up of five and seven apartments. The group also owned a commercial building which was converted into a gym called Rampage Fitness.  

 

The investigation 

The first civil investigation into the crime group was launched in December 2011 after the case was referred to the NCA by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. This led to the recovery of 11 properties and £1.75m cash on 20 January 2017 after Ameran and his brother-in-law failed to prove the assets were not the proceeds of crime. 

The NCA’s criminal investigation into the crime group began in July 2014, when Border Force officers intercepted a container and found 165kg of heroin concealed inside. The drugs haul was worth approximately £5m uncut. 

This investigation uncovered a criminal conspiracy to import heroin from Pakistan, and a group of eight men, including Ameran Zeb Khan, were imprisoned for a total of 139 years and four months at Birmingham Crown Court on 14 July 2017. 

A second civil investigation resulted in the recovery of 11 properties valued at £1.8m from associates of the family.  

And between July 2018 and June 2019 a further 37 properties were seized. Proceeds from the sales of recovered assets are paid into the public purse. 

Andy Lewis, head of asset denial at the NCA, said: “This result displays the power of civil investigations working in tandem with criminal ones to take high harm organised crime groups down. 

Over several years, our officers have painstakingly identified unlawfully held assets worth millions of pounds and ensured that the subjects will no longer benefit from them. We will continue our work to scrutinise wealth we think is obtained from criminality and take away their illicit assets.” 

Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, added: “We are determined to stop criminals profiting from their crime.  

Where criminals have bought properties with illicit funds, in Birmingham, Bangor or anywhere in the UK, we will use all the powers at our disposal to identify them and to seize them.” 

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