Ban for directors of Bethnal Green shop caught selling illegal alcohol

Mohammad Akbar and Sheraz Ahmad have been banned from running their own companies. Pic: Insolvency S

Mohammad Akbar and Sheraz Ahmad have been banned from running their own companies. Pic: Insolvency Service - Credit: Archant

Two directors of a convenience store in Bethnal Green where one of the largest haul of illegal alcohol was seized in the borough have been banned from running their own companies.

Mohammad Akbar, 61, and 29-year-old Sheraz Ahmad jointly ran Shiraz Food & Wine in Hackney Road, when 351 bottles of illegal booze was found by trading standard officers who raided the store in December 2014.

The discovery resulted in Tower Hamlets Council revoking the store’s licence which led to Shiraz Food & Wine Ltd, the company which ran the shop, going into liquidation due to a fall in takings in 2016.

A subsequent investigation by the Insolvency Service discovered that Akbar was the sole director of the company before the raids took place and he had failed to stop Ahmad buying the illegal wine and spirits from a van driver before selling them in the store.

Last week Akbar was disqualified for seven years and Ahmad banned for 11.

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A spokesman 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.

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“This latest action by the Insolvency Service follows one such successful joint operation against shops that were found to be trading illegally and shows our ongoing commitment to protect residents and honest traders alike.”

Anthony Hannon, from the Insolvency Service Public Interest Unit, added: “Sheraz Ahmad thought he could cut a few corners when he bought the illegal booze and Mohammad Akbar did nothing to stop him.

“But this could have led to serious consequences as there was no guarantee the alcohol was safe to sell to the public.

“Thanks to the joint working with our colleagues from the various agencies involved, we have secured substantial bans for the two bosses, preventing them from setting up another business and possibly doing the same again.”

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