Tower Hamlets trio jailed for running central London brothels making £4.4million

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:31 26 February 2018

Kamal Bougrine was jailed on Friday. Photo: Met Police

Kamal Bougrine was jailed on Friday. Photo: Met Police


Three people from Tower Hamlets have been jailed for their role in running a £4.4million prostitution ring in central London.

Simona Gheorghe of Devon's Road, Tower Hamlets, was handed a suspended sentence. Photo: Met Police Simona Gheorghe of Devon's Road, Tower Hamlets, was handed a suspended sentence. Photo: Met Police

Kamal Bougrine, 48, of Digby Street, Bethnal Green; Simona Gheorghe, 27, of Devons Road, Tower Hamlets; and Mohamed Bakkali, 43, of Adelina Grove, Whitechapel, were all convicted of two counts of conspiracy to control prostitution for gain at Southwark Crown Court on Friday (February 23).

Bougrine was sentenced to five years and nine months imprisonment, Bakkali to two years and three months imprisonment and Gheorghe was handed a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

A man from Ilford was also sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment for the same crimes.

Bougrine and Bakkali were jailed for five years and nine months and two years and three months respectively, while Gheorge was handed a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

Their crimes saw around £4,471,506 pass through their accounts while they ran brothels close to Harley Street in Mansfield Mews and Cramer Street in Marylebone between 2011 and 2016.

They were set up using registered business names such as London’s Calling, a taxi service; Park Lane VIP Services, a limousine and events company; and eatery Pachas Restaurant.

The restaurant’s average transaction was £645, with most transactions being made between midnight and 3am – times that did not correlate to usual trading patterns.

In 2015, the Metropolitan Police began investigating Bougrine and Ahmed under Operation Parashift and Operation Thistle.

An undercover police officer outside West End strip club, The Windmill, was taken to one of the brothels with a free rickshaw ride included in the deal. Another was told the prices for sex workers started at £250.

A later search of one of the brothels led to the discovery of chip and pin machines, a pink A4 refill pad containing account details of related businesses, including Pachas Restaurant, and an A5 brothel diary detailing how much money each sex worker brought in.

Andrew Levin, from the London Crown Prosecution Service’s Complex Casework unit, said: “These criminals sought to be sophisticated by setting up what would appear to be legitimate businesses on the face of it and the use of card machines.

“On top of cash payments, they collected nearly £4.5m in card payments through brothels in central London and considered themselves well above the law.”

Latest East London News Stories

55 minutes ago

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Yesterday, 19:00

A memorial that took 10 years to get going as a commemoration to the 173 people killed in the 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster has finally won a national architects award.

Yesterday, 15:19

There is no service on the TfL Rail line between Liverpool Street and Ilford this afternoon.

Yesterday, 11:57

Wendy Holland is living on borrowed time after being diagnosed with the deadly mesothelioma “asbestos disease” caused by hugging her dad as a toddler when he came home every night from working in the docks in the 1960s.

Yesterday, 07:00

A rich source of radical photography and film-making showing East End community life and political struggles of the 1970s and 80s goes on public show for the first time today at Bethnal Green’s Four Corners studio.

Thu, 18:00

A big old building in Bethnal Green had been empty for donkeys’ years until Scott Franklin’s ‘property guardians’ filled the space to make it useful.

Thu, 18:00

Investigators probing corruption, fraud and bribery in the overturned 2014 Tower Hamlets council election that brought down Lutfur Rahman are gathering fresh evidence previously “overlooked by the police”, it has emerged this week.

Thu, 17:09

What a snip for Bethnal Green’s Joshua Galvin hairdressing academy whose staff have been awarded the prestigious Matrix Standard again.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now