Monday Nov 29 2021

Civil servant insults Pakistani woman in biggest mortgage fraud inquiry of UK

LONDON: A senior prosecution lawyer working for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been involved in insulting a British Pakistani woman and comparing an ethnic female lawyer to a “dog” -- giving rise to allegations of abuse of power and bias in the biggest-ever UK mortgage fraud inquiry involving a Pakistani Muslim family, according to official papers

The public servant and case lead lawyer within the Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance Department at the SFO called British Muslim woman, a “gangster’s moll” in the insulting personal attack at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 28, 2020 during post-hearing discussions held with the counsel, the Principal Financial Investigator in the case, according to the complaint made by lawyers of the woman. The SFO told this reporter that the name of the civil servant cannot be disclosed due to legal reasons.

The high-ranking civil servant launched this attack on the woman, the ex-wife of a British Pakistani businessman. Geo News reported last week that the Serious Fraud Office had dropped a high-profile criminal fraud investigation into British Pakistani businessman after 15 years of investigation into £50 million alleged mortgage fraud.

At the request of the SFO, restraining orders and arrest warrants have also been cancelled through the Southwark Crown Court against a British Pakistani businessman who left for Pakistan in 2006 at the start of the investigation and has always fervently denied any wrong-doing.

Papers show that woman’s lawyers the company made a formal complaint to SFO listing various serious offences against the senior lawyer prosecuting the case. The SFO disciplined the civil servant, separated him from the case file of British Pakistani businessman family members but the case incharge lawyer then quietly returned to the case.

Lawyers of the woman complained that the highly offensive comment was “unwarranted, unprofessional and highly offensive, particularly as it came from a member of the prosecution agency” targeting a female who has suffered violence.

The company also complained to SFO against the same civil servant in the same letter for attacking another professional woman related to the same case. On 20 October, the civil servant sent an email to a trainee solicitor, saying: “At least trainee solicitor has got a training contract now and isn’t merely a dogs body.”

The complaint to the SFO said the attack from the civil servant was “offensive, inappropriate” and the content caused serious distress to trainee solicitor and was a “serious breach of the SRA principles 2 and 5” as solicitors must “act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the profession and in legal integrity. We don’t know why MG chose to compare a female trainee solicitor of this firm to a dog”.

The defence lawyers questioned that irrespective of the civil servant’s motives and the professional and disciplinary matters his conduct arises, his behaviour also gave rise to a serious concern as to how this matter was being prosecuted.

The lawyers also complained to SFO that in an email on 26 August, 2020, the civil servant wrote to Southwark Crown Court accusing woman's son of attempting to sell a property known as Turtle Creek, Florida, USA, in breach of the court orders. They told SFO that he had misled the court because both the US Department of Justice and a lawyer of the son refuted the allegation as false.

Originally published in The News