A businessman who flaunted his wealth, posing with private jets, sports cars and celebrities, has been stripped of his £10 million property empire after becoming the first Briton to be hit with an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO).
Mansoor Hussain, 40, from Leeds, built his fortune by money laundering for organised crime gangs, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
He used the proceeds to purchase a string of properties across the UK, including a luxury apartment in one of Mayfair's most exclusive and desirable streets.
But investigators from the NCA succeeded in securing a UWO, allowing the agency to seize the vast majority of his assets including properties in London, Cheshire and Leeds, four parcels of land and more than £500,000 in cash.
Posing as a successful property developer, Hussain used his fortune to rub shoulders with the rich and famous posting images on his social media sites of him at parties with the celebrities including the Duchess of Sussex, Simon Cowell and Philip Green, and singers Beyonce, Nicole Sherzinger and Cheryl Cole.
But a lengthy investigation revealed that far from being a legitimate businessman, Mansoor had close links to a string of notorious criminals and organised crime groups.
He was a close associate of Bradford gangster Mohammed Nisar Khan, who is currently serving life in prison for murder.
He also allowed convicted armed robber Dennis Slade to stay rent free in his seven-bedroom house in Leeds and used a convicted fraudster as his accountant.
The NCA said Mansoor also used threats of violence and blackmail to build his property empire.
But while the NCA was unable to prosecute him for any criminal offence, the civil case against him will see him lose the vast majority of his fortune.
Hussain went to court to challenge the UWO, submitting 127 lever arch files of evidence to explain where his money came from.
But in doing so he inadvertently gave NCA investigators clues to make a bigger case against him.
It is the first time a UWO has been successfully secured against a Briton and also the first time one has been obtained solely on an individual’s alleged involvement in serious organised crime.
Graeme Biggar from the NCA's National Economic Crime Centre, said: “This case is a milestone, demonstrating the power of Unexplained Wealth Orders, with significant implications for how we pursue illicit finance in the UK.
“This groundbreaking investigation has recovered millions of pounds worth of criminally obtained property. It is crucial for the economic health of local communities such as Leeds, and for the country as a whole, that we ensure property and other assets are held legitimately.
“I am determined to bring together all the resources of the public and private sector to protect the UK economy from the corrosive impact of illicit finance.”
Andy Lewis, Head of Civil Recovery at the NCA, said: “Mansoor Hussain thought he had hidden the criminality associated with the source of his property empire, but he didn’t count on our tenacity.
“Far from taking his UWO response at face value, we studied what he had and hadn’t divulged. We could then use that information to look far enough back to uncover the hidden skeletons in his financial closet.
“Ultimately the wealth of evidence in this case has led to a settlement which not only meets our operational goals, but frees up our investigators and legal team to pursue other cases.”
Despite often posing with luxury cars, yachts and private jets, the NCA said he did not own any of them or they would have been seized.
Hussain is now left with four properties, which are "highly mortgaged", Mr Lewis said.
The settlement does not prevent further criminal action against Hussain "should other offences be discovered and identified", Mr Lewis added.
UWOs were introduced under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and came into force in January 2018.
The NCA secured the first UWO a month later, against £30m worth of assets held by Zamira Hajiyeva and her husband.
But earlier this year a UWO relating to three London homes owned by the family of a Kazakh dictator, was successfully overturned by the Court of Appeal.
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