£200k Covid loans for scam case businessman

·2-min read
(Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)
(Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Archive)

Covid Bounce Back loans worth £200,000 were given to a businessman who is at the centre of a High Court battle over a £1.6 million property “scam”, it has emerged.

Bhupinder Chohan, 54, secured four pandemic payouts of £50,000 each through companies with no assets and without the required turnover to qualify for the Government’s aid scheme. A High Court judge has now concluded Chohan made “false and dishonest” applications for the Bounce Back loans, rejecting his claims to have misunderstood the qualifying criteria.

The Government handed out more than £47 billion during the pandemic to help ailing businesses but is under intense scrutiny after it emerged £17 billion is expected to be lost, including nearly £5 billion to fraud.

Mr Chohan, the director of dozens of firms registered in England, the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands, was the subject of a High Court order freezing his assets at the time of making the Bounce Back loan applications. Mr Chohan is also suspected of claiming furlough payments from the Government at a time when he had no salary.

The details emerged in a High Court claim brought against Mr Chohan by Saudi businessmen who allege they were swindled in a property investment “scam”.

“I am satisfied (he) completed false and dishonest applications to the government for Bounce Back loans”, concluded Mr Justice Leech, in a ruling at the end of last month.

Questions will be raised as to how Mr Chohan, who owns a property in West Drayton, west London, was able to repeatedly secure loans while already embroiled in the High Court case alleging fraud by him and his brother Bally Chohan.

Father and son Riyadh and Nassir Alokaili first mounted the legal case in 2019, alleging they had been duped into investing in properties in England which the Chohan brothers did not own. In February 2020, a judge ruled that Bhupinder Chohan was personally liable for £1,645,707.33 owed to the two men.

The brothers’ assets had also been frozen in October 2019 during the course of a second, separate legal claim brought against them.

In May this year, Bhupinder Chohan was found in contempt of court for failing to disclose details of his assets to the Alokailis’ legal team and a 24-week prison sentence was imposed on him on July 29.