A crooked businessman has been sentenced in his absence to seven- and-a-half years in prison for nobbling witnesses in a Crown Court trial and money laundering – two months after he absconded during his trial.

Nightclub owner Yasar Hussain, 31, made trips to Hungary and Dubai with criminal solicitor Majed Iqbal, 32, to pay off witnesses for firms who had been ripped off in a £310,000 fake energy drink scam.

But they were caught after they flew back to Manchester with Yasar’s brother Zameer Hussain, days before the trial with a video clip on a memory stick of Iqbal negotiating bribes.

Businessmen were duped into buying marketing rights for drinks which only existed in the form of 8,000 dummy cans.

Yasar Hussain, of Ashburnham Grove, Manningham, was convicted of 13 counts of money laundering and perverting the course of justice in December.

Sentencing at Hull Crown Court yesterday Judge Mark Bury said Yasar Hussain had laundered £300,000 and should be sentenced after fleeing the court in November when his trial opened.

“It was an outlandish fraud,” said Judge Bury. “It involved setting up virtual offices and fictitious personnel to suggest the company was prosperous. I find that he had no intention of supplying the goods.

“I find he spent the funds on high living. There is evidence to suggest Yasar Hussain is a regular visitor to Dubai and had expensive motor cars. He carried on this enterprise knowing it was fraudulent.

“Once he and his brother were charged with these offences, they set about trying to frustrate the course of justice.”

Hull Crown Court heard Yasar Hussain drove a £120,000 Audi R8.

Yasar Hussain’s barrister Abdul Iqbal said the court agreed that the idea of the energy drink was a clever one. He said: “He is 31 and of good character up until this fateful venture he had been relatively successful with his family.”

Police are continuing to hunt for him. A Proceeds of Crime hearing into the criminal lifestyle of all three defendants will take place on June 28.

Majed Iqbal and Zammer Hussain have lodged notices they are appealing their convictions, the court was told. Majed Iqbal was given five years and Zameer Hussain was given 18 months.