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A multi-million pound fraudster at the head of a large-scale international drugs conspiracy has been jailed for 37 years.
Iranian refugee Aram Sheibani from Trafford, UK, funded a lavish jet-setting lifestyle through fraud, money laundering and drug offences.
The 40-year-old built a £5 million ($7.08 million) property empire by masquerading as a legitimate businessman, falsifying his earnings to facilitate further borrowing.
Between 1999 and 2010, he only declared his income on five occasions when he attempted to explain his amassed wealth with forged documents, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Police subsequently raided his luxury apartment in Bowdon in April 2019 and found a safe containing £167,000 ($236,533) in used notes, as well as £24,000 ($33,992) Porsche Panamera parked outside.
Sheibani - who came to the UK with his family in 1986 - attempted to destroy evidence before they entered the address, smashing up an encrypted Encro phone and throwing it down the toilet.
In total, £1.2 million ($1.7 million) in cash was seized from searches at various properties belonging to the defendant, along with the recovery of cryptocurrency valued at £1.3 million ($1.84 million) and original artwork from Banksy and Andy Warhol gained through illegitimate means.
Cash-counting machines, various quantities of foreign currencies, a number of encrypted electronic devices and substantial mounts of cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy were also recovered, said police.
The Daily Mail reports Sheibani tried to explain away the drugs, telling detectives: "I am a heavy drug user but definitely not a drug dealer.
"I sometimes take drugs and I sometimes have sex. I don't necessarily have to have them at the same time."
Through his fraudulently amassed wealth, Sheibani frequently travelled across the world, enjoying decadent trips to Dubai, Amsterdam and Ibiza, where he indulged in lavish yacht parties.
He also had a host of luxury vehicles including two Bentleys, a Porsche and a gull wing Mercedes.
On a trip to Beverly Hills in Los Angeles in 2013, he splashed out $45,000 (£31,770) on a hair transplant. A further sizeable sum was spent years later in Istanbul in an attempt to cure his premature baldness.
He also visited Colombia several times - which police argued were research trips as the country is famous for its cocaine trade - but Sheibani insisted he only went to the country to 'meet girls and party'.
Sentencing, Judge Anthony Cross QC told him: "Your greed knows no boundaries.
"I am certain that you began your criminal life by taking advantage of the property boom in which the money you generated in your early 20s funded your foray into the international drug trade in which you engaged in at the time of your arrest.
"I am satisfied that you are at the very head of a large-scale drugs conspiracy.
"I am satisfied that the evidence indicates you are close to the source of production in Colombia and the international drugs trade which includes the supply of drugs in Europe, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
"Your network here runs across the UK. You were not just a supplier but a processor of drugs. You ran a network of unknown others under your control."
Following a 10-week trial, Sheibani - who had pleaded not guilty - was convicted of five counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception; three offences of possession of criminal property; two offences of failing to comply with a notice; two offences of converting criminal property; two offences of fraud; forgery; using false instruments; conspiracy to supply controlled drugs; possession of a controlled drug of class A and perverting the course of justice
Outside court, Detective Sergeant Lucy Pearson, of Greater Manchester Police's economic crime unit, said: "Sheibani is a calculated, deceitful and scheming criminal who believes he is above the law.
"May today's sentencing serve as a warning to anyone thinking they can get away with such fraudulent and criminal activity.
"We will find you and ensure that you face the full consequences of your actions."
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