Men jailed for £17 million counterfeit goods haul
Two men have been sentenced to three years each for operating a global import and export business which had an estimated £17m of counterfeit goods seized by Brent Council’s Trading Standards team in what is thought to be the largest ever haul by Trading Standards anywhere in the UK.
Nirmon Grover, 44, of Lady Margaret Road in Southall, and Ajit Arura, 36, of Commercial Road in Newport, who operated Grover International Limited from a storage unit in Alperton, pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court on 12 May 2014 and were sentenced on Thursday 10 July 2014.
The haul consisted of over 80,000 items that were imitations of luxury goods including 34,100 pairs of Nike footwear, Ugg boots, Louis Vuitton bags, designer fragrances, headphones and watches from Breitling and Rolex containing imitation packaging and holograms. The value of the products if genuine would have been estimated at £17,620,000. The actual street value was estimated at £1,714,000.
Brent Council officers have said that this is the most sophisticated operation they have ever come across with a global supply link to China and Europe and an investigation lasting five years. Officers had visited the premises a number of times previously following complaints of unsafe and counterfeit products.
Andrew Clooney, Senior Prosecutor at Brent Council, said: “The investigation stretched back a number of years as each time we went back to the storage facility, more counterfeit items were seized. Our partners at HMRC were then reporting seizures of goods at the docks in Southampton and Tilbury. It was no doubt a sophisticated operation.
“We are committed to keeping counterfeit and unsafe goods off the streets and this haul should act as a warning to other rogue businesses that we will leave no stone unturned in investigating and prosecuting people who look to gain from the proceeds of criminal activity.”
Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said: “What this successful prosecution shows is that we will take the toughest action possible against counterfeiters. A knock-off handbag, watch or pair of shoes might seem like an snip for some but it’s the cost on legitimate businesses that has the biggest toll. The message is clear to rogues: Trading Standards will clamp down on you if you break the law.”
Notes to newsdesks:
- The charges relate to four different seizures of substantial quantities of counterfeit goods from June 2008 to February 2010.
- Mobile phones and SIM cards from the offenders were seized which suggested extensive travel and contained texts implicating Mr Arura.
- The men were initially arrested on 18 February 2010.
- The maximum sentence for the offences would have been 10 years in prison.
- Pictured: L-R Nimron Singh Grover, Ajit Singh Arura
Media enquiries: Carl Holloway, Media relations manager, Brent Council, 07721 232974
DATE: 16 July 2014