Despite never having been convicted of a crime, a Leeds businessman has handed over 45 properties, and the Poundland brand name, to the National Crime Agency (NCA). The properties handed over by Mansoor Mahmood Hussain are located in London, Cheshire and West Yorkshire.
Included in the settlement are a high spec office and apartment development in Leeds, Cubic, which was 100% owned by Hussain through one of his 77 companies. He also handed over apartments, offices, land and homes, including a luxury apartment opposite Harrods in London and a seven bedroom home in Leeds.
Powers under the Unexplained Wealth Order enabled the NCA to pursue Hussain. He is suspected of laundering money acquired by numerous criminal acquaintances, including a convicted murderer and drug-trafficker, through his property empire.
Hussain showed off his lavish lifestyle on social media, where he is photographed with luxury cars, executive jets and super yachts. He is also seen posing alongside celebrities at VIP events, including Beyonce, Simon Cowell, Sir Philip Green and the Duchess of Sussex – although it is not known whether he was personally acquainted with anyone with whom he was photographed.
Hussain had numerous bank accounts, one of which contained over Â£1 million but, despite all of this, he paid virtually no income tax and many of his companies were dormant.
The NCA was unable to prove that Hussain himself was guilty of criminal activity so instead turned to the Unexplained Wealth Order. The UWO required him to prove the legitimate sources of his wealth, which he was unable to do. Hussain agreed to settle the case against him and handed over all but four smaller, heavily mortgaged properties and cash held in a bank account that had not been part of the investigation.
The NCA said that settlement of the case did not preclude a future investigation but had saved the taxpayer both time and costs. It hoped it would also discourage him from later defending himself legally.
The proceeds of the sale of the properties will be split equally between the NCA and central government.
To date, only four UWOs have so far been brought to court, two of which are still being fought and another lost by the NCA, when the High Court ruled there was no case to answer.