Former News of the World journalist posed as a 'big shot' movie mogul to lure singer Tulisa into an alleged plot to supply cocaine, court hears

Ms Contostavlos bragged that she had in her youth been part of a gang which sold crack cocaine

Mazher Mahmood, the “fake sheikh” investigative reporter, yesterday described from a screened witness box how he posed as an Indian film producer to ensnare former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos in an alleged plot to supply cocaine.

A jury heard how the former News of the World undercover journalist, renowned for the range of aliases he deploys to win the confidence of his targets, persuaded the 26-year-old singer he was a jet-setting movie mogul with the connections to get her a part in a film co-starring with Leonardo Di Caprio.

Ms Contostavlos is alleged to have boasted that she could arrange for “white sweets” or cocaine to be supplied for a night out she was arranging for Mr Mahmood, who was going by the name Samir Khan, at an East London strip club.

Prosecutors claim she put Mr Mahmood in touch with a friend, rapper Mike GLC, whose real name is Michael Coombs, who supplied the cocaine at a suite hired by the reporter, working for The Sun on Sunday, at London’s five-star Dorchester Hotel.

Coombs, 36, earlier this week pleaded guilty to supplying half an ounce (13.9g) of cocaine - at 37 per cent purity - for £860 in a late night deal which led to a front page story last May accusing Ms Contostavlos of brokering drug sales. The singer denies a charge of helping Mr Mahmood to procure a Class A drug.

In keeping with his desire to keep his appearance known to as few people as possible, the reporter only entered the witness box at Southwark Crown Court after the room had been cleared to allow him to arrive incognito.

The former News of the World journalist has spent more than 20 years posing in different guises to secure tabloid scoops on Cabinet ministers’ love affairs and plots by criminal gangs. His nickname derives from his penchant for posing as a Arabic prince to dupe some targets.

Jurors heard that Mr Mahmood had presented himself as a “big shot” producer staying in Cannes for the French resort’s film festival who then flew to visit Contostavlos with a colleague in Las Vegas and then London’s Metropolitan hotel last year.

He told the court: “We claimed to be from India and we wanted to make an international film with a substantial budget and we wanted to befriend Tulisa Contostavlos.”

The reporter said it was the former N-Dubz star who volunteered the topic of drugs during their meeting at the Metropolitan on 10 May. He said: “She brought it up with words to the effect that she would go home tonight and have a drink and she might have cannabis to go to sleep.”

Prosecutors allege that Ms Contostavlos, who had been trying to launch an acting career, was keen get into the “good books” of Samir Khan and bragged that she had in her youth been part of a gang which sold crack cocaine.

The court heard that later during the Metropolitan meeting she had once more raised the subject of drugs and spoken of being able to get “white sweets”.

Asked what he understood Ms Contostavlos to mean by the term, Mr Mahmood said: “That she could supply me with cocaine, no problem.”

The court heard that when Mr Mahmood arranged to fly from France for the night out at a strip club run by an ex-boyfriend of Ms Contostavlos there were phone calls between him and the singer in which she undertook to arrange a cocaine purchase.

On 22 May, she texted the journalist, writing: “Let me know wen u land so I can sort u out! Love Tulisa xxx.”

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent