East London duo handed 18-year business ban for selling illegal booze
Two shopkeepers have been disqualified from running a business for a combined 18 years, after a Trading Standards raid uncovered 351 bottles of illegal alcohol held on store premises ready for sale.
Mohammad Akbar and Sheraz Ahmad were co-owners of Shiraz Food & Wine, a convenience store incorporated in August 2012 and located on the Hackney Road, close to Hoxton in East London.
The raid, which occurred in December 2014, was assisted by HMRC and the Metropolitan Police and was the was the largest seizure of illegal booze in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for many years, according to the Insolvency Service.
Officials decided the health risks posed to the public by fake alcohol and the unfair competition for law-abiding businesses in the borough were sufficient grounds to revoke the store’s licence.
Turnover significant fell in the following months and Shiraz Food & Wine eventually closed in 2016.
“Sheraz Ahmad thought he could cut a few corners when he bought the illegal booze.”
After the company went into liquidation, an Insolvency Service investigation discovered Akbar was the sole director of the company before raids took place and failed to prevent Ahmed purchasing illegal wine and spirits from a van driver before selling on to customers.
Read more:?Operation Aphrodite: Thousands of fake goods seized from online shops
Akbar was disqualified for seven years and Ahmad for 11 years, effective from 6 August. The ban sees the pair banned from direct or indirect involvement without court permission in the promotion, formation or management? of a business.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Tower Hamlets Council said:Whilst the potential health risks of fake alcohol are well known, businesses who sell cheap smuggled goods also create unfair competition for the majority of law abiding businesses in the borough.
tower Hamlets Environmental Health and Trading Standards team works closely with our partners in HMRC and the Metropolitan Police to seize illegal product from the market place and take action against those who flout the law.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.
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