Fraudster walks free

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The Independent Online
The architect of the biggest banking fraud in British criminal history walked free yesterday - and immediately criticised the Home Office. Syed Ziauddin Ali Akbar, who had spent 14 months in Brixton prison awaiting extradition to the US to face blackmail charges, said the Home Office had handled his case "very badly".

Akbar has served an 18-month sentence for conspiring to launder drug money, and was released on parole in 1995 after serving part of a six- year sentence for his part in the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Lord Justice Rose ruled that the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, had taken too long over the extradition order and had not shown any special reasons why Akbar should not be released.