A Ferrari-driving people smuggler who fled the UK after being given bail for running a £500,000 number plate scam posted a video online – apologising to the judge.
In the video posted on his Facebook page, Zahid Khan, 31, brazenly tells the judge who bailed him: ‘I had no choice but to flee the UK.’
He slipped out of the country days before he was due to be sentenced for running a complex illegal number plate racket targeting luxury cars.
Khan, along with his brothers Aamir and Ayan and cousin Zubair Ahmad, fraudulently obtaining Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) paperwork.
This enabled them to transfer ownership of five high-value number plates – 2K, 8G, 9H, 9J and C1 – without the owners’ knowledge.
Zahid Khan sold the 2K plate for £85,000 to an unwitting customer and was in the process of cashing in on the others.
One of their targets was Scottish lottery winner Gillian Bayford, who won £148million in August 2012.
Khan was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, perverting the course of justice, and concealing and converting criminal property.
When he failed to turn up to Birmingham Crown Court for his trial, he was jailed in his absence for ten years.
He uploaded a 16-minute video to his Facebook page the day before he failed to show up during his trial at Birmingham Crown Court in June.
In the video, he addresses Judge Philip Parker QC directly and moaned that he was unfairly targeted by police, and was not having a fair trial.
Wearing a white shirt and sun glasses, he said: ‘I am making this video to let you know I am very sorry, I did not want to do what I did, but I I felt like I had no other choice.
‘Had I stayed in the UK, I was not having no justice and the only safest option I had was to leave this country.
‘The defence barristers saw I had no legal team and took this as an opportunity to attack me. The whole case was biased and very unfair for myself.
‘All I want is for justice to be served. I will speak myvoice till I’m heard. I will not stop until I get justice served.’
Khan, of Moseley, Birmingham, was also convicted of people smuggling after he was caught bringing Afghan immigrants into the UK in 2015.
West Midlands Police are now working with the Home Office and Interpol to find Khan.
The court heard Khan pressured a Birmingham car salesman into passing on the details of drivers with valuable vehicle registration mark (VRMs).
He then contacted the DVLA posing as the rightful owner and claimed to have lost the log book and reporting an address change.
When he was sent a new log book, he claimed ownership of the number plates by naming himself or one of his co-conspirators as the ‘grantee’ on V778 retention documents.
During the investigation, police also uncovered evidence linking him to six stolen cars being run on false plates.
In December 2014, he was caught behind the wheel of a VW Golf bearing cloned plates.
The following February, a Vauxhall van he had bought was found displaying number plates suggesting it was two years younger than its manufacture date.
The following December, brother Aamir, 25, tried selling two Audi A3s and a Range Rover Evoque.
But the auction house refused to offer him sale lots and reported their suspicions over the vehicles’ identities to police.
Their fears were confirmed when officers found all three were sporting bogus number plates.
The Khans tried covering their tracks by manufacturing a series of text messages between themselves and a supposed rogue car dealer.
Khan could often be seen showing off on the streets of Birmingham behind the wheel of a Ferrari Spider.
But police discovered the supercar was a Category B vehicle, having previously been scrapped, and seized the vehicle and crushed it.
Detective Constable Rob Piper, from West Midlands Police’s Economic Unit, said: ‘I would urge Khan to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror and reflect on what he’s done.
‘He’s run away and left his own family to take the punishment for a criminal enterprise he orchestrated – that kind of action must be hard to live with.
‘We are working with the Home Office and Interpol to trace Khan and bring him to justice. But I would also urge Zahid Khan to do the honourable thing and surrender to police, instead of letting his loved ones do the time for his crimes.
‘Zahid Khan portrayed the image of a legitimate businessman and a multi-millionaire – but in reality he is a career criminal and a con artist.
‘He and his family and associates clearly thought they’d identified a scheme that could make them huge sums of money.
‘The five VRMs they stole the rights for had a combined value of half a million pounds. But we uncovered the scam before he was able to cash in.
‘Khan’s Ferrari was seized and crushed. It had previously been written off but was illegally recovered, repaired and put back on the road. It was unsafe and potentially a danger to road users.’