Scotland Yard policeman robbed drug dealers for organised crime network

Ex-officer jailed for eight years after plot unravelled when encrypted communications were hacked by authorities

Kashif Mahmood was a serving Metropolitan Police officer when he stole cash from criminal gangs. Metropolitan Police
Kashif Mahmood was a serving Metropolitan Police officer when he stole cash from criminal gangs. Metropolitan Police

A corrupt British police officer was jailed for eight years on Thursday after working with a London drugs gang to steal cash from their rivals.

Kashif Mahmood, 31, stole at least £850,000 ($1.2m) from dealers in east London and passed it on to his criminal masters in return for lavish gifts, including holidays and a £6,000 Rolex watch.

Dressed in full uniform, Mahmood took marked and unmarked police cars to carry out his end of the arrangement. Using intelligence passed on by members of the gang, he stopped the cars of other criminals to confiscate cash from drug deals or intended for laundering.

Mahmood was involved in at least four other attempts to take cash from criminals while working on information supplied by drug-dealing twin brothers Shabaz and Shazad Khan, 32, and their older brother Moshin, 35.

In one stop in which he was accompanied by Ioan Gherghel, 34, a Romanian bodybuilder posing as a police officer, he took the £850,000. Another incident involved an undisclosed amount of money while three separate attempts were made including for a cache of £500,000, Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

The former police officer, who called himself 'King Kush' on Twitter, was once commended for bravery, but he was convicted of assaulting a member of the public while on duty in 2018. He was dismissed from the Met Police force after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office last August.

“Kashif Mahmood was at the heart of the most audacious aspect of the organised crime group’s criminal conduct, the conspiracy to acquire criminal property. It was this aspect of the criminality which led to their downfall,” said prosecutor Peter Ratliff at a sentencing hearing for Mahmoud and his accomplices.

Jailing Mahmood, judge David Tomlinson said: "You abused your position of power, trust and responsibility."

The Khan brothers, who admitted supplying class A drugs and conspiracy to acquire criminal property, were jailed for between 14 and 16 years. Gherghel was jailed for six years.

Investigators discovered communications between Moshin Khan and a user with the handle ‘SSNew’ on the EncroChat network, the court heard.

“The communications reveal that ‘SSNew’ was directly involved in the Khan criminal enterprise and instrumental in making arrangements for the move.

“The evidence, including ‘SSNew’s’ own assertions in EncroChat communications, demonstrates that he was based in Dubai.”

Lawyers for Shazad Khan claimed the crimes were part of an “operation that is run and co-ordinated at arms-length from a sophisticated criminal in Dubai”.

The scheme was uncovered after European detectives in April 2020 cracked an encrypted phone system used by criminals and were able to retrieve details of their conversations. The intelligence breakthrough has led to more than 1,500 arrests by UK police.

French and Dutch detectives were last year able to secretly monitor communications between criminals for weeks on EncroChat before its administrators realised it had been penetrated and advised users to destroy their phones.

EncroChat had 60,000 users worldwide and its operators sold customised Android phones for €1,000 ($1,190), each with a six-month contract costing €1,500.

Over the course of three weeks in 2019, two of the Khan brothers and Mahmood, who were described as “long-standing associates”, flew to the UAE. The trio returned on two flights to Britain a few days later.

“The prosecution suggest that, together with the other evidence in the case, the clear inference from this travel was that the conspirators were meeting in the UAE, in whole or in part in furtherance of the criminal conspiracies,” Mr Ratliff said.

Mahmood admitted misconduct by “using police information technology systems, vehicles, uniform and powers to facilitate the commission of criminal offences by himself and others”.

Updated: May 13, 2021 11:50 PM

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