A High Court judge has rejected claims that a property in the name of disgraced former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman was partly owned by his wife.
Ayesha Farid, also referred to as Mrs Rahman, claimed that she had a beneficial interest in 3 Grace Street in Bromley-by-Bow - a buy-to-let property under Mr Rahman’s name.
But at the High Court Chancery Division on Friday, January 29, chief master Matthew Marsh dismissed the claims and called Mrs Farid “a thoroughly unsatisfactory and unreliable witness” who was “willing to alter and extend her case when challenged”.
The case was part of a battle to get Mr Rahman to pay more than £500,000 owed in court fees to four petitioners who accused him of corrupt practices during the 2014 mayoral election.
The four residents’ plight had Mr Rahman removed from office and he was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices following a six week trial at the Royal Courts of Justice early last year.
Mr Rahman failed to pay the petitioners anything, so they put legal charges on his properties to secure the debt, but Mrs Farid claimed that she owned 100% of one of the properties and 74% of the other even though Mr Rahman had applied for the mortgages and they are registered only in his name.
During the judgement from chief master Marsh the court also heard that two properties purchased by Mr Rahman in 2005, which he said one was a buy-to-let and the other a residence, were in fact both let from the outset.
Chief master Marsh said: “Both Mr Rahman and his broker must have been aware that they were providing misleading information to the two proposed lenders and furthermore that the details of Mr Rahman’s earnings were being considered by both lenders on the assumption that there was to be no other loan. ”
Commenting furthermore on Mrs Farid’s demeanour as a witness, he said “there were clear signs of Mrs Farid adjusting her evidence under pressure” and that she withheld “information which did not fit her case.”
Commenting afterward, Caroline Turner, solicitor for the petitioners, from Richard Slade and Company said: “Both Mr Rahman and his wife Mrs Farid have done everything possible to put obstacles in the way of the petitioners receiving justice. However, they have so far failed in all their attempts to thwart the election petitioners.
“Mr Rahman declared himself bankrupt just before the trial about the ownership of the properties in another attempt to put the properties out of reach of the petitioners. Only one of the two properties could be considered at the trial."
One of petitioners, Azmal Hussein, said after the case: “This is another win for the petitioners.”
A trial to further look into the costs owed is set for April.