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Gloucester shop keeper made £500,000 from illegal cigarettes, but has just £500 of assets

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: December 23, 2013

  • Cheery wave: Barton shopkeeper Daoud Karem

  • Gloucester Crown Court

Comments (16)

A SHOPKEEPER who made half a million pounds from selling dodgy cigarettes from his Gloucester shop, will have to pay back just £500.45.

Daoud Karem, the owner of the Polski Sklep shop on Barton Street, made £500,000 selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco under the counter.

But the 31-year-old has just assets of £500.45 which can be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Karem, of Vauxhall Terrace, admitted selling the fake-labelled cigarettes, which did not have an the appropriate health warning, the store in August last year.

Investigators uncovered 259 packs of illegal cigarettes and 100 pouches of tobacco hidden in a false till partition.

Another search of the premises in June resulted in further seizures.

Gloucester Crown Court heard that if the cigarettes seized were sold legitimately, they would have made £3,500, meaning Karem made a profit of £1,400. The state lost a total of £1,900 from those sales.

Two weeks ago the Iraqi was given a 24-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

Yesterday, he was told he has 28 days to pay the £500.45 to the court and if he fails to do so, he will have to spend 28 days in jail.

Gloucestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team brought the prosecution against him.

Spokeswoman Charlotte Merrfyfield said: “Due to the nature of the offences for which he was convicted, Daoud Salih Karem was deemed to live a criminal lifestyle. As a result, his finances over the past six years could be investigated.

“It was estimated that Daoud Salih Karem made £500,000 from his crimes and this was agreed in court yesterday.”

Karem’s prosecution is just one of a series from Trading Standards following stings.

Eddie Coventry, head of Trading Standards, said: “These cases show officers will continue to be vigilant in helping bring those people who engage in this illegal trade to justice.

“The deliberate and dishonest concealment of contraband items is a serious issue.

“We want to reassure legitimate traders we are doing everything we can to put a stop to this illegal and damaging activity.”

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  • crazy8  |  December 23 2013, 9:06AM

    So another criminal makes thousands and gets away with it. How about changing the law so that they go straight to Jail and only start serving there sentence when they have paid back all that they have made out of crime. They wont be smiling then and I would put a bet on the money turning up from somewhere.

    Rate   2
  • BigGeordie1  |  December 22 2013, 11:41AM

    Just £500 to pay back,he's laughing all the way to the bank,if we say anything about these people we are branded bigots or racist, but the simple fact is we have to welcome them, if they can't live by our laws deport them forth with.

    Rate   10
  • Snappy_Happer  |  December 22 2013, 3:34AM

    Our judicial system can be so unimaginative. Motorists who break the law have points added to their licences as well as receiving fines or prison sentences. Why can't the court decree that this man loses his licence to sell ANY cigarettes? Perhaps alcohol as well? The ordeal of getting the licence/s back will be more punitive than the loss of this minor amount he has left on display for the court's benefit...

    Rate 0
  • Apothegm_  |  December 21 2013, 9:07PM

    Maffff: presumably the relevant sentence is, "the 31-year-old has just assets of £500.45 which can be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act." How this is assessed, I have no idea.

    Rate   4
  • agaga  |  December 21 2013, 8:38PM

    He was following maggie's rules, make as much money as you can, by any means.

    Rate   -3
  • Maffff  |  December 21 2013, 7:49PM

    Really disturbing how badly this piece of journalism is written. It makes no sense saying he has £500 of assets in the same breath as saying he owns a shop. One of those is factually incorrect. Isn't what's really happened is that Gloucester County Council Trading Standards team has made an epic failure in the investigation and prosecution. LauraC you should be ashamed of yourself inciting racist comments as those below by taking the angle you did on this story.

    Rate   -4
  • zalapompadoo  |  December 21 2013, 7:37PM

    too right deport him if it was a uk citizen he would be behind bars so kick him out

    Rate   7
  • JeremyBadger  |  December 21 2013, 4:00PM

    Deport him back to Iraq, he wouldn't still be here under Maggie's rule! Lets forget the stupid European Court and the EU and let's get back to ruling our own country and removing these scum.

    Rate   11
  • SandraPee  |  December 21 2013, 1:34PM

    Didn't this warrant a bigger fine or longer prison sentence ?

    Rate   12
  • supernova1  |  December 21 2013, 12:50PM

    This is NOT a racist remark, so please don't judge it so, but I'm thinking he's a Muslem, yet he has broken many tenets of that faith. Once again, we are asked to observe strict codes of faith in other countries we visit, but in our country, certain people just feel they can do whatever.

    Rate   15