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‘DEVASTATING IMPACT’: Salesman from Gerrards Cross jailed for multi-million-pound cleaning products fraud

 Published on: 9th July 2024   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

A salesman from Gerrards Cross has been jailed for seven years for a multi-million-pound cleaning products fraud at the University of Edinburgh.

Aasim Johar, 53, defrauded the University of Edinburgh of more than £3.3million between 2005 and 2015 through his role as a salesperson. The fraudulent scheme saw him earn commission through false and overinflated invoices for cleaning products that were either not delivered or not required.

Johar colluded with Geoff Turnbull, senior manager at the university. Following Turnbull’s resignation in 2015, the university discovered its spend on cleaning products had increased from around £48,000 per year in 2005 to more than £800,000 annually over a decade.

Turnbull had authorised a spend of £1.2million for Johar’s company, Universal Solutions (International) Limited, despite the fact that another company had been providing these supplies with a substantially lower budget.

The cleaning goods ordered by Turnbull, who has since passed away, were not required by the university and were rarely delivered. The court heard how Johar received an eight per cent commission on escalating sales with the institution while Mr Turnbull received gifts, vouchers and hospitality. When police searched his North Berwick home, they discovered gift cards, vouchers, iPads, iPhones and Apple watches all linked to the fraudulent scheme.

Johar denied the charges but was found guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh of forming a fraudulent scheme between 2005 and 2015.

The trial, presided over by Lord Lake, took place between April 22 and May 24. There were three charges on the indictment. On May 24, the jury found Johar guilty of a fraudulent scheme. The charges of Prevention of Corruption Act and contravention of the Bribery Act 2010 were withdrawn by the Advocate Depute for the Crown on May 17. On June 24, Aasim Johar was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

Detective Sergeant Gary Dalgleish, of the Financial Investigation Unit, said: “The sentence is the result of a long and complex investigation carried out by our officers. We have worked closely with the university and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service throughout the investigation and thank them greatly for their assistance.

“We recognise the significant and devastating impact that financial fraud can have on those that fall victim, which makes us all the more determined to identify and prosecute those responsible.”

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