Britain jails man for attempt to blackmail Pakistan oil firm

5th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Pakistani-born driving instructor living in Britain was jailed for 18 months on Thursday for trying to blackmail Diwan Petroleum, a Pakistani oil and gas giant, out of millions of pounds.

Nusrat Hussain, from Lancashire, northwest England, told company bosses he would use alleged influence with Pakistan's president and prime minister to drive the company into liquidation if it did not pay him eight million pounds (12.5 million dollars).

Hussain, who has lived in Blackburn, Lancashire for the past 12 years, made the threats in a series of mobile phone calls and text messages between February 2 and May 11, 2009, the British court heard.

He said he was acting on behalf of two men in Pakistan, one a childhood friend who owed him 2,500 pounds (4,000 dollars) and proposed the scheme, in part, in order to be able to repay Hussain, the driving instructor said.

In his ruling, Judge Stuart Baker said: "The threats were not carried out and were probably not capable of being carried out, and certainly not by you."

The judge said blackmail was "an ugly and sinister offence which is not difficult to commit", adding that this type of "pernicious conduct... must result in a significant and real punishment."

Hussain's attempt to blackmail the company collapsed when a representative for the petroleum firm came to Britain to pass on its findings to Lancashire police.

The court was told Hussain and his friends had no known connection to any members of Pakistan's political regime.

© 2010 AFP

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