Iraqi exile in pounds 1m fraud to help Kurds

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The Independent Online
AN OPPONENT of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who defrauded British building societies of more than pounds 1m to accommodate refugees, has been shown leniency by a judge.

Sherwan Dizayee, 36, who is on Iraq's wanted list after saving thousands of Kurds, used the pounds 1.2m to house destitute and frightened refugees, Southwark Crown Court was told yesterday.

Judge Jeffrey Rucker told Dizayee, a property developer and the Kurdish Democratic Party's London representative, he was being shown exceptional leniency because of the circumstances of the case. Dizayee was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years after he admitted obtaining 10 properties and nine personal loans by deception.

Desmond de Silva QC, for the defence, said: 'This is an extraordinary case involving an exceptional man. It is about extraordinary motives which may have saved an enormous number of lives.'

The court was told that the politician risked his life to slip back into his own country to help UN forces set up safe havens for the Kurds after the Gulf war. He also organised programmes to protect the Kurds and helped highlight their plight by smuggling in television reporters. Captain Hardie Forsyth, a Foreign Office military liaison officer, spoke of Dizayee's 'extraordinary bravery'.

Dizayee had also helped track down the men accused of murdering a BBC reporter. He did not profit personally from the fraud.