Akhtar Ahmad

LLB (Hons) Lond.

Director | Solicitor Advocate

Akhtar Ahmad Solicitor London Specialist fraud crime

“Akhtar Ahmad is a criminal solicitor with a practice covering money laundering matters and crossover immigration fraud”

Chambers & Partners

“a very strong academic lawyer with great client skills to boot.”

Chambers & Partners

“a man who can cope with the most stressful situations and difficult cases; he is known for his work in terrorism and extradition matters”

Legal 500

Ranked by the leading Legal Directories as one of the top criminal solicitors in the UK, Akhtar regularly represents clients facing the most serious and complex of allegations. He has specialised in Criminal Defence work since 1994 and is a Higher Court Solicitor Advocate. He has considerable experience dealing with the full spectrum of criminal matters ranging from general criminal allegations to the most serious, high profile, complex cases of International Fraud, Extradition, Sexual Offences, Murder and Terrorism.

Commended for his “determined, meticulous approach to case preparation” and “excellent grasp of forensic issues and trial tactics” Akhtar’s practice covers all parts of the country and all levels of the criminal justice system including pre-arrest and pre-charge advice, through to representation at the Magistrates Court, Crown Court, Jury Trials and Appeals against Conviction and Sentence.

Whilst advocacy is an important aspect of Akhtar’s practice, case preparation and case management in complex cases is also a significant area of expertise. In particular Akhtar has a wealth of experience in dealing with complex Restraint Orders and Confiscation Orders.

He is particularly admired for his ability to deconstruct complex allegations and provide strategically astute advice. Akhtar recognises the anxiety and stress that can be caused to clients who face allegations which have the potential to greatly affect their personal and business lives and is noted for his ability to help clients navigate through extremely difficult circumstances successfully.

Akhtar’s clients come from all walks of life. He has advised and defended Company Directors, Accountants, Senior Medical Professionals including Surgeons and Pharmacists, Broadcasters and Journalists, Police Officers and a Peer of the Realm.

Whilst Criminal Defence work makes up the majority of his practice, Akhtar has also prosecuted on behalf of Government Agencies such as the Department of Business Innovation and Enterprise (DBIS) as well as Local Authorities and regulatory authorities such as OFCOM.

Elected as President of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) in 2012, Akhtar successfully represented the interests of all Solicitors and associated members who practice Criminal Law in London against the Government during one of the most critical periods in the history of criminal defence work. Through the LCCSA, Akhtar directly contributes to government consultations on changes to the Criminal Justice System and meets with Government Ministers, senior members of the Judiciary and others who influence Policy.

Akhtar currently sits as a representative of Defence Lawyers on a National Criminal Justice Committee whose aim is to implement Government policy to digitise the workings of the Courts, make better use of technology in the Criminal Justice System and to target other efficiencies.

As a member of a number of Human Rights organisations, Akhtar is committed to using the legal system to fight injustice committed against individuals or groups whether at home or abroad.

Professional Memberships

  • Past President of the LCCSA (London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association)
  • Past Assessor on the Examining Board of Swansea University Duty Solicitor Assessment and Higher Court Solicitor Advocate Assessments.
  • National Criminal Justice Digital Working Group Committee

Serious Fraud & Business Crime Cases

INVESTMENT FRAUD

Operation Cotton – Southwark Crown Court

Represented 1 defendant  of eight alleged to have been involved in a land banking fraud going back to 2008. Investment opportunities related to acquiring plots of undeveloped land in the expectation that these would be sold to major developers at a profit. Over £5 million in investors’ funds was alleged to have been obtained. Our client is charged with conspiracy to defraud and carrying on an unauthorised investment business contrary to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The charges arose out of Operation Cotton, an FCA investigation into the activities of three land banking firms – Plott UK, European Property Investments (EPI) and Stirling. The case hit the headlines as it was also the first case to be affected by the response of the Bar to the MOJ decision to cut VHCC rates. Members of the Bar returned all VHCC cases following cuts in funding by the Legal Aid Agency. Alex Cameron QC was instructed to represent our client and successfully applied to stay these proceedings on the basis that the State’s actions, had left these defendants unrepresented, which amounted to an abuse of process and meant they could not have a fair trial. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision and Counsel were reinstructed.

R v D – Maidstone Crown Court

Multi-handed and serious conspiracy to defraud investors of circa £1/2 million of fine wine. Most of the targeted investors were vulnerable and elderly. The fraud was protracted and highly sophisticated.

Operation Jackdaw & Ivan– Reading Crown Court

Investigation into a series of investment (boiler room) frauds targeting vulnerable elderly people where “suckers lists” are allegedly used to target previous victims to re-invest. The value of this fraud is described in millions at present.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS FRAUD

R v C – National Mobile Phone Crime Unit Investigation

Successfully represented client facing allegation of Conspiracy to Defraud the network service providers Vodafone, o2, EE and 3. In excess of 20 people were arrested. Those at the top of the chain were said to have recruited students from universities in the UK to apply for contracts in return for fixed sum payments. Contracts were later cancelled by the company with the mobile phones being later sold and the customer facing the burden of the airtime contract and mobile phone.

MORTGAGE FRAUD

R v N- Isleworth Crown Court

This matter related to a serious fraud and tax evasion exceeding £1.2M on a large buy to let property portfolio. The case involved a series of allegedly fraudulent mortgage applications over a ten- year period by the defendant and his wife. They were also accused of failing to pay income tax on the rental income and capital gains tax on the sale of the properties, whilst also making fraudulent applications for tax credits. The case involved dozens of mortgage applications and tenancy agreements, together with bank statements and related correspondence, amounting to in excess of 12,000 pages of prosecution evidence. A forensic defence accountant was instructed to assist the defence.

CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD

Operation Salvage – Reading Crown Court

Operation launched in 2014 to invetsigate 550 car accidents in the East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire region which were said to have been involved in induced collisions. Subsequent compensation claims were paid out which were allegedly on the basis of false information. Described as one of the largest Cash for Crash cases to date.

Operation Bizet – Guildford Crown Court

Described as a sophisticated multi -handed case involving a conspiracy to defraud various high street banks. The case was aggravated by the fact that the targeted victims of this fraud concerned vulnerable & elderly victims by an organised crime group who worked within the banks and allegedly were able to obtain hundreds of thousands of pounds.

BENEFIT FRAUD

Operation Rhino – Snaresbrook Crown Court

Successfully represented client facing a Large scale benefit fraud where it was alleged that shell companies were setup to exploit a benefit scheme where EU nationals would qualify for housing benefits and tax credits if they were able to demonstrate a level of income. The shell company facilitated a large number of false benefit claims by allowing “employees” to effectively pay themselves wages through a chain of company accounts.

CHARITIES COMMISSION FRAUD

Operation Sovereign – Blackfriars Crown Court

Successfully represented defendants who were investigated as part of an operation that focussed on alleged Christian Charity fraud perpetuated at London Underground and Overground stations. The defendants were trustees of an international charity that had run for almost 20 years. It is alleged that they diverted hundreds of thousands of pounds of funds collected on behalf of the charity into their own accounts over 6 years and that they have been under declaring their annual submissions to the charity commission during this time. The case involved careful analysis of multiple bank accounts and the use of forensic accountants and thorough inquiries into the nature of the investigation where there were apparent failures of protocol.

MONEY LAUNDERING

Operation Doberman – Manchester Crown Court

Successfully represented Client described as the ring leader of a drugs and money laundering operation. Case was dismissed following half time submissions focussing on Prosecution failure to consider relevant material and disclosure obligations. Following the convictions of a number of family members for the importation of heroin and other dishonesty offences, an investigation was conducted into the finances of 11 Defendants. The individuals faced allegations of Conspiracy to Launder Money over a 10- year period and were said to have dissipated their assets worth millions at the point of a family members arrest or confiscation proceedings. Unusual case which is linked to Operation Cadmus, Operation Shoreham and Operation Muscadet.

Operation Major – Guildford Crown Court

Professionally planned money laundering operation where identities of individuals were hijacked to commit fraud and launder millions of pounds which was transferred through companies as far as Singapore. The Prosecution rely upon extensive digital evidence to link the Defendants in the creation of these companies and the onward transfer.

IMMIGRATION FRAUD

Operation Berg / Meeker – Southwark Crown Court

Represented a registered immigration advisor who qualified as a Barrister aboard who along with other company directors allegedly manipulated earnings to support 100’s of immigration applications in order to obtain a rebate of taxes previously paid to the Revenue. The Serious Fraud Division Prosecution team described this case as particularly sophisticated due to the number of companies which were created one of the largest frauds of this type.

Operation Hudson – Isleworth Crown Court

Represented client who was arrested as part of Operation Hudson which investigated the facilitation of young women from Nigeria for prostitution.

R v M – Southwark Crown Court

This case involved surveillance on users of the internet who shared files, some of which contained illicit images. This was a joint operation with officers from the Human Trafficking team and the Child Protection Agency who were jointly involved in the prosecution of this case.

R v L – Reading Crown Court

This multi-handed case involves a prosecution against a number of Romanian males who were allegedly responsible for trafficking a number of women from Romania into the U.K for sexual exploitation.

Serious & General Crime Cases

Murder & Manslaughter

Operation Gabanintha – Old Bailey

Multi-handed allegation of Murder and Conspiracy to Murder. ABV Solicitors successfully represented the client accused of murdering his wife and thereafter fleeing abroad after the family house was set on fire in an attempt to allegedly destroy the evidence and body. The case against the client was formally dismissed following submissions after the jury heard the Prosecution case.

R v A

The defendant was acquitted of murder and found guilty of the lesser offences, following a fatal stabbing in Southall in broad daylight. The case involved detailed analysis of extensive CCTV footage, and the application of the new interpretation of ‘joint enterprise’ (R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8) despite the Defendant standing trial alone.

R v O
– Old Bailey

Multi handed Conspiracy to Murder and associated Firearms offences involving the beating of a drug associate who was then shot 4 times. Client acquitted of conspiracy to murder but convicted of conspiracy to inflict GBH level injuries and various firearms offences.

Operation Gindalbie – Central Criminal Court

Represented a Defendant accused of a double murder at a Heathrow Hotel. The case involved the instruction of specialist psychiatrists and psychologists along with extensive defence forensic enquiries.

Operation Kallands

It is alleged that the defendant killed his wife by decapitation. They were in a volatile relationship with a history of domestic violence. The issues in the case include loss of control by the defendant and expert psychiatric evidence.

Operation Gosasco

This case concerned allegations of attempted murder and possession of a firearm where a gang of men in two separate cars drove up behind the complainant. The passenger in the first car fired at his head and narrowly missed but was then attacked and beaten with a hammer to the face. This was a case where it was a joint enterprise attack in which the aim was to kill the complainant.

Operation Harleston – Old Bailey

Represented a defendant who along with another were alleged to have murdered a man in New Addington.

Operation G – Old Bailey

Represented a Defendant in a SCD1 investigation into murder which occurred in East London. This was a multi-handed case in which some defendants had links to high profile celebrities and as a result this case attracted a great deal of media interest.

Operation Gladesville – Old Bailey

Represented one of two defendants charged with the murder of another young male after a drunken brawl resulted in death. This case raised issues of joint enterprise and causation.

Operation Castorland – REPORTED CASE Thomas & Ors, R v [2012] EWCA Crim 148 – Old Bailey 2008

21 – handed gang related murder and violent disorder in West London involving adults and youths aged 12. Issue of joint enterprise. We represented a 12 year old who was acquitted of murder but convicted of Manslaughter and received a 7 year sentence. Three others convicted of murder received minimum sentences of 15, 14 and 13 years respectively.

Operation Coal – Reading Crown Court

Successfully represented a Defendant charged with Conspiracy to Murder which was alleged to have involved a sustained retribution attack including a shooting incident and arson by a number of defendants following a serious assault in the Slough area on one of their friends. Case successfully dismissed.

Operation Foreston – Central Criminal Court

Murder allegation as part of a Gangland dispute often referred to as a postcode war. The defendant is thought to be a central figure of the notorious ‘Beaumont Boys Gang’. The Prosecution in this case made a Witness Anonymity application under the provisions of section 87(1) Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

R v M – Reading Crown Court

Represented the head doorman of a nightclub in Milton Keynes who was charged with the Murder of his partner in High Wycombe.

Operation Emmelsville – Central Criminal Court

Successfully represented a defendant who faced an allegation that he murdered one man and assaulted two others in a fight outside a pub in Ealing. After trial he was acquitted of all charges.

Operation Craft
 – Reading Crown Court

High profile Attempted Murder, s.18 GBH and Aggravated TWOC. The victim was scraping ice off her car windows when an attempt was made to steal the car and it was driven away. She received serious injuries as the car ran over her. Our client was the passenger.

Operation Cherrytree – Old Bailey

Successfully represented a Defendant who was accused of Murder and Attempted Murder during a double shooting incident in Peckham which was investigated by Operation Trident officers. It was alleged that this was an execution style killing of fellow drug dealers leaving the survivor with a bullet lodged in his neck. This case involved a flawed Identification Parade procedure along with extremely complex cell site and forensic evidence. Utilising information obtained from the FBI and elsewhere around the world we were able to present to the jury a more complete picture of the character of the main witness. Our client was facing a life sentence with a minimum term of between 30-35 years had he been convicted.

Violent Crimes

Operation Dhillon – Isleworth Crown Court

Multi-handed case involving a Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robberies in the West London area. The case was investigated by SOCA (Serious and Organised Crime Agency).

Operation Cartwright – Kingston Crown Court

High profile Heathrow heist namely a conspiracy to rob Swissport. The offence was committed by a number of defendants who were all arrested at the scene. The potential loss of the target cash and gold bullion was estimated at £90 million.

Operation Solaz – Kingston Crown Court

This case was a multi handed conspiracy which was a highly publicised case involving a cash in transit theft of a Loomis van containing £7 million. Two men who worked at Loomis staged a kidnap and the cash was stolen. This cash has never been found. Our client was said to be involved in the conspiracy to steal and then assist her husband to launder £800,000 of that money from Pakistan in order to purchase a house in the UK.

Operation Withern – Inner London Crown Court

Instructed to represent dozens of cases involving the 2012 riots across the country including offences of violent disorder, burglary, theft and arson.

R v C, K & Others

Represented two of four defendants for offences of conspiracy to kidnap. It was alleged that £400,000 worth of jewellery was stolen and in an attempt to recover it our first client organised the kidnapping of the complainant believing that he was storing the stolen jewellery. After a lengthy trial all defendants were acquitted of all charges.

R – v – G – Guildford CC

Successfully represented young male with learning difficulties involved in a multi handed kidnap where the defendants were alleged to have kidnapped a male and placed him in the boot of their car. Our client was acquitted of the kidnap.

Operation Cavalry – Blackfriars Crown Court

Multi-handed case involved a group of 20 members of an anti-fascist group who were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to commit violence in protest at the staging of fascist concerts. The defendant we represented at trial was successfully acquitted.

Drugs

R v A – Kingston Crown Court

Multihanded allegation of possession of firearms and the supply of drugs. This case involved the instruction of a DNA expert to deal with the issue of transfer of DNA in respect of our client and whether or not they had any connection to the firearms or drugs. Our Client was acquitted of possession with intent to supply class A drugs but convicted of the firearms offences.

R v K & Others – Birmingham Crown Court

Multi-handed nationwide conspiracy to supply a vast amount of class A drugs. The defendant we represented was acquitted of 5 out of 6 of the charges against him

Operation Pink Duck / Operation Tailorcraft / Operation Yellowstone / Operation Barnes / Operation Martinet / Operation Grayshot / Operation Agosta – Birmingham Crown Court 2

Large scale and multi handed supply and production of Class A & B Drugs in Liverpool, Birmingham and Sussex. The matter was investigated by SOCA who used covert surveillance as part of their lengthy investigation into this alleged organised crime group.

Operation Baccarat – Guildford Crown Court

Conspiracy to Supply approximately 86kgs of Cannabis through a sophisticated set operation.

R v R & Others – Reading Crown Court

Large scale multi-handed Possession with Intent to Supply Class A and B and Money Laundering was investigated by the SOCA (Serious and Organised Crime Agency) following a surveillance operation which resulted in the seizure of a vast quantity of Class A and B Drugs together with a large quantity of money and firearms.

Operation Singapore – Croydon Crown Court

CONSPIRACY TO IMPORT COUNTERFEIT MEDICNE – MHRA PROSECUTION

Described as the most serious breach of the medicines control regime in the EU with far reaching effects. Successfully represented the CEO of International Pharmaceutical Company based in England who was investigated over 2 years by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) who was accused of conspiring to illegally import and distribute millions of pounds worth of counterfeit medicine used to treat life threatening illnesses. The case involved links with high profile FBI prosecution in the USA.

Operation Wipe – Reading Crown Court

A multi handed conspiracy alleged to be a nationwide commercial scale drugs operation. The drugs (Heroin) were valued at approximately £4 million. The case was investigated over a period of time using covert surveillance both audio and visual.

Operation Haughty
 – Reading Crown Court

Multi Handed Conspiracy to Supply Class C drugs namely, 103 kilos of skunk cannabis and complex money Laundering via ‘Cuckoo Smurfing’ by controllers. There was a vast amount of Cell Site Phone evidence relied upon by the police together with Covert Surveillance.

Operation Manakin – Sheffield Crown Court

This case involved a large multi –handed Cultivation of Cannabis and other drug related offences in and around the Sheffield area. A vast amount of surveillance was conducted over a lengthy period of time, which culminated in the arrests of many Chinese Nationals.

R v J & Others – Kingston Crown Court

Multi – Handed Supply of Class A Drugs which involved significant covert surveillance in the U.K over a period of time.

Operation Overfall – Croydon Crown Court

Large Scale Multi-Handed Conspiracy to Supply Class A Drugs involving covert surveillance by SOCA officers, as well as complex telephone and cell site evidence.

Operation Copthorne
 – Swindon Crown Court

Multi-Handed Conspiracy to import/ supply 4 tons of Cannabis.

Operation Ashwick – Kingston Crown Court

Large Multi Handed Conspiracy to Produce and Supply Class A Drugs involving Intrusive Probe Evidence and Covert Surveillance.

Operation Chester
 – Reading Crown Court

33 handed Conspiracy to supply drugs in the Berkshire area.

Operation Themis
 – Harrow Crown Court

19 handed conspiracy to supply drugs in Middlesex. Surveillance operation involved test purchasing of drugs.

Operation Phoenix – Southampton Crown Court

50 handed large scale conspiracy to supply drugs in Hampshire by London gangs.

Operation Walnut – Wolverhampton Crown Court

Multi Handed Conspiracy to Supply vast amounts of Class A drugs. The case involved complex Cell Site phone evidence and International Probe intrusive surveillance requiring a Commission Rogatoire as evidence called from foreign law enforcement officers.

Operation Falcon
 – Reading Crown Court

Multi handed conspiracy to supply quarter of a million pounds worth of class A drugs found in a residential property. At the time, the largest domestic seizure of Class A drugs in the UK. Featured in Road Wars.

Operation Hepatic
 – Reading Crown Court

Multi handed Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs, large scale Money Laundering and Possession of Firearms. Police used intrusive surveillance probe evidence over many months.

Public Justice

R v S – Old Bailey

Represented a defendant who held a judicial position. It was alleged that he gave false evidence in a County Court which was considering a matter concerning contact with his daughter. This case was investigated by the murder squad as originally the defendant was arrested for conspiracy to murder his ex-partner, the mother of his child.

R v A – Oxford Crown Court

This case involved a multi handed investigation which, investigated offences dating back as long as 10 years. It was alleged that one of the defendants ran a business charging people money to get rid of Notice of Intended Prosecutions.

TERRORISM

Operation Tappa – Old Bailey

High profile terrorism case involving two males who travelled to Syria to engage in violent jihad and were both convicted in a separate trial. The defendant, who was initially a prosecution witness, was said to have assisted these defendants in making arrangements to go to Syria and provided them with detailed advice on how to cross the Turkey and Syrian border.

Operation Examine – Woolwich Crown Court

Multi handed high profile Terrorism trial alleging a plot to carryout attacks in greater numbers than 7/7.

Operation Calcitic – Woolwich CC

Represented the sister of the main defendant who entered guilty pleas to engaging in conduct to commit acts of terrorism. His wife was also charged with encouraging him but was convicted by a jury. Our client entered guilty pleas on a basis to sending a terrorist publication, intending to either directly/ indirectly to encourage them to prepare an act of terrorism. This case required analysis of various types of chat groups, and web search history. The defence team prepared a significant mitigation bundle which resulted in a substantially reduced sentence.

R v S

An investigation by specialist units under s11 of the Terrorism Act 2000 relating to an individual being a member of a proscribed organisation, namely Hezbollah. This case contained serious issues where the client’s objective was to seek asylum which had to be finely balanced with avoiding potential criminal charges.

R v H

Investigation under s58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 relating to material held or collected by an individual that could be used to commit a terrorist act. This was a highly sensitive case involving issues of national security, human rights, liaison with other governments and agencies due to the nature of the confidential material held by the individual.

Sexual Offences Cases

R – v – B – Reading Crown Court

Represented a learning support teaching assistant at a primary school for an allegation of sexually touching a 6 years old student whilst at school during a lesson. This defendant was acquitted at trial.

R v H & I – Old Bailey/Central Criminal Court

Multi handed “historical sex grooming” matter where we represented two of the defendants facing a number of charges including conspiracy to rape two females who were aged approximately 13 years at the time. One of our clients faced 4 charges, two of rape and 2 of sexual activity with a child. An application to dismiss was made in respect of three of the charges including both rapes which was successful. The second defendant who faced allegations of Conspiracy to Rape was found Not Guilty

Operation Fitzroy – Blackfriars Crown Court

This case concerned serious sexual offences on young girls who were said to have been ‘groomed’ having met the defendants via social media and taken to open sex parties, provided with drugs and alcohol. Complex case where extensive study of the mobile phone evidence resulted in material which undermined the prosecution case.

Regulatory Law Cases

Brent Council v DB

ABV represented a company suspected of breaching it’s Health & Safety regulations following a major accident at the work place.

HMRC Investigations

R v K – HMRC Investigation

Investigation conducted by HM Revenue & Customs into the supply of arms and ammunition from China to Sierra Leone without the necessary trade control licence. A vast amount of the proceeds of this offence were laundered. The matter is still at investigation stage and it is understood that enquiries are ongoing by HMRC both in the UK and Europe.

 

Extradition Cases

A v Court of Magistrates Malta – High Court of Justice (Divisional Court)

This case involved a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an importation of cannabis in Malta. This issue in this case was whether the extradition would be oppressive by reason of the condition of our client’s mental health and the risk of suicide and whether extradition would be compatible with the client’s rights under articles 3, 5, 6 & 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and whether his extradition ought to be stayed as an abuse of process of the Court. The matter is currently ongoing.

Road Traffic Offences Cases

R v A – Reading Crown Court

The case was highly publicised at the time due to the ‘viral’ content that spread across online media and social media websites showing the incident that took place. Our client faced a charge of dangerous driving and a charge of attempt to cause grievous bodily harm with intent. It was alleged that the Defendant drove his car purposefully onto the pavement where the victim was cycling, thereby knocking him down with force. The Crown had to offer no evidence in the case due to the lack of evidence.

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