The most controversial policeman of the modern era, Commander Ali Dizaei, was sent back to jail in disgrace yesterday after being found guilty of corruption for a second time for trying to frame a man in a dispute over a £600 bill.
The most senior policeman to be found guilty of corruption for a generation will be drummed out of the Metropolitan Police after a 25-year policing career for wrongly arresting a man over a personal dispute.
It is the second time that Dizaei, 49, has been jailed for trying to fit up Waad al-Baghdadi, but his original conviction was quashed last year after it emerged that his accuser had lied about his background and illegally claimed welfare benefits.
Dizaei remained suspended on full pay of £90,000 until the outcome of the new trial, but yesterday's guilty verdict at Southwark Crown Court appears to mark the end of the road for the Iranian-born officer after a colourful career marked by controversy, suspensions and running disputes with his employers at Scotland Yard.
Dizaei sat stonily in the dock as the verdicts were read out, but said he would appeal against the convictions for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice. The jury was not told that Mr al-Baghdadi is being investigated over an alleged rape in February last year and for a serious assault in 2009. "The journey has only just begun," Dizaei told The Independent. "We will go to the Court of Appeal and, if needs be, to Europe. It is a sad day that a convicted fraudster who is a bogus asylum seeker and under investigation for rape and assault is believed over a police officer."
Dizaei, who was twice attacked during his initial jail term, was yesterday imprisoned for three years. He has already served 462 days and is likely to serve up to three months more before he is released. The conviction is likely to have been received with satisfaction at Scotland Yard, which will hold a misconduct process likely to result in Dizaei being sacked by next week. He could also lose all or part of his pension.
Deborah Glass, deputy chairwoman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which investigated Mr al-Baghdadi's complaint in 2008, said: "There is no room in the police for corrupt officers and today's verdict underlines that."
The case marked the latest turbulent chapter in the relationship between Scotland Yard and Dizaei, who has been the target of a series of inquiries that have racked up costs running into millions of pounds. The upward trajectory of Dizaei, who joined the force in 1999, stalled two years later when he was suspended after a wide-ranging corruption inquiry.
During the operation, codenamed Helios, an eight-man team tapped his phones and kept him under surveillance. He was investigated for a series of allegations including that he used cocaine and prostitutes, had corrupt links with criminals, and even that he spied for the Iranians. The investigation was ordered following suspicions raised by MI5 over his links with figures at the Iranian embassy.
However the inquiry resulted in just one case coming to court for allegedly perverting the course of justice after he lied about where he put his car when it was vandalised. He was cleared by a jury.