Wealthy hotelier imprisoned teenager

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A wealthy Mayfair hotelier was today cleared of drugging and raping a teenage girl.

But Ali Farhani, 52, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of false imprisonment of the 18-year-old.

The victim said she was taken to Farhani's home in Charles Street late at night in July 2008.

After sexual activity took place, Iranian-born Farhani had locked her up in a bedroom until the following evening, she said.

Farhani was remanded on bail to be sentenced on May 21. Judge Martin Stephens warned that he could face a jail sentence.

Rolano Kyriakidis, 40, an unemployed marketing man also from Mayfair, who took the teenager to see Farhani, was cleared of charges, including rape.

Iranian-born Farhani told the court he had been using prostitutes from escort agencies for many years because his 18-hour days left no time for a social life.

He believed the girl was "a whore, a prostitute" but did not have full sex with her.

Farhani told the court he had built up a hotel empire in London and in 1990 was in a UK rich list as being worth £75 million.

He had bought and sold hotels but high interest rates and the property slump had resulted in bankruptcy and prosecution for failing to keep proper accounts.

"I lost my empire," he said. The business had since been resurrected, starting in 2006 with a hotel in Park Lane.