A Bradford fugitive who was thought to be hiding out in Dubai after he feigned sickness and absconded on the first day of a crown court trial might still be in the UK, police revealed yesterday.
Yasar Hussain fled at the start of a seven-week trial at Hull Crown Court into money laundering and perverting the course of justice, related to a fake energy drink scam which used the famous Duracell name.
Police had thought he was visiting regular haunts overseas and had issued an all-ports alert, but a senior officer has now said that Hussain, the son of a Bradford councillor, could be in this country.
Hussain, his brother and a solicitor, were convicted by the jury of their part in the international fake drink scam.
The 31-year-old was found guilty in his absence of 13 counts of money- laundering and perverting the course of justice.
The jury heard how he boasted about being the talk of Bradford as an inventor of a Duracell energy drink to rival Red Bull.
Hussain, of Ashburnham Grove, Manningham, will be sentenced when he is found.
Zameer Hussain, 28, of Moorland Close, Dewsbury, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for 18 months.
Bradford solicitor Majed Iqbal, 32, was jailed for five years after being convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The scam involved the setting up of a fraudulent energy drink company – Duracell Energy Drinks Limited, taking orders and offering exclusive regional marketing rights to companies across the globe – despite never having a product to sell.
Procter & Gamble, the brand owner, had refused to sell the licence for the product to be sold under the Duracell name.
The group even made fake cans of the energy drink to convince potential partners.
Detective Superintendent Jason Barron, of West Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Team, said: “This was a well-organised and convincing scam that conned a number of foreign businesses out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“While two men have been sentenced for their part in this crime and another is awaiting a re-trial, Yasar Hussain has so far evaded detection and is on the run.
“He is a wanted man whom we feel is still in the UK and we are determined to catch him and see him sentenced for his part in this criminal enterprise.”