Assets recovered from abattoir operator

A former abattoir manager has been ordered to pay £317,135 following a successful prosecution by the Food Standards Agency and the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART).

Ibrahim Moosa Yusuf was fined under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, during a hearing at Leeds Crown Court. The fine follows a prosecution in November 2006 relating to the breach of a Prohibition Order issued to his brother Yakub Yusuf.

Yakub Yusuf was sentenced to six months' imprisonment in October 2004, having pleaded guilty to 23 food hygiene offences relating to his operation of abattoirs in West Yorkshire. In addition to his custodial sentence, he was issued a Prohibition Order that prevented him from being involved in the management of a food business for seven years.

Following his release, Yakub Yusuf and his brother, Ibrahim Yusuf, once again became involved in the management of the abattoir in Ossett, using another individual, Imran Darwan, to act as the named food business operator.

All three were subsequently prosecuted for breaching or aiding a breach of the Prohibition Order and they pleaded guilty to the offences in November 2006.

Yakub Yusuf was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment (suspended for two years) and was ordered to complete 180 hours' community service. Ibrahim Yusuf and Imran Darwan were also given community service orders.

Following the prosecutions, discussions between RART and the FSA led to a confiscation investigation being undertaken by RART with a view to identifying the benefit derived by the Yusuf brothers and their realisable assets. The resulting hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was held at Leeds Crown Court this week before Judge McGill. The prosecution sought to recover £317,315 from each of the brothers.

In his summing up, Judge McGill said that Ibrahim had not been a truthful witness and it was found that Ibrahim had failed to declare a house that he had owned and a bank account from which £211,000 had been taken.

Judge McGill found against Ibrahim and made a confiscation order in the sum of £317,315 with a default sentence of three years, three months' imprisonment if he failed to do so within six months. HH Judge McGill accepted Yakub's claim that he was an employee of the company operated by Ibrahim and he was not the subject of a confiscation order.

Sarah Appleby, head of enforcement at the FSA said: "This was a complex case and we worked closely with our partners to secure this outcome. We hope that the outcome of this case sends a clear message that those who put public health at risk will not profit in any way from their crimes."

DCI Steve Waite, had of the North East RART, said: "This case highlights the effective use of the powers available under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Results like this show the advantages of enlisting the services of the North East RART and working together with a common goal to ensure that those who have clearly benefited from their criminal conduct have it stripped away from them."

The assets recovered in cases such as these are held by central government.