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Saturday, October 16, 2021

UK court jails driver for attempted blackmail of prominent Qatari family

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Southwark Crown Court, London
Southwark Crown Court, London

A driver who tried to blackmail members of the Qatari royal family by threatening to share their private photographs if they didn’t pay him money has been sentenced to jail for more than four years by a London court.

In May 2013, Sudan-born Awad Abdulbagy, 49, had been hired to drive a private photographer working for members of the Qatari family around London during their visit to the UK.

After finding photographs of the family on a memory stick and camera left in his car, Abdulbagy threatened to send the pictures to a commercial television station or another Gulf state if he did not receive GBP600,000 (QR3.3 million) from the Qatar Embassy in London.

Embassy staff called police about the threat, and the driver and his wife Nasren Mohammed, 34, were arrested, according to the Press Association newswire.

Both were found guilty of blackmail at a trial held earlier this year at Southwark Crown Court in central London, where reporters were instructed not to name the victims.

Sentencing the defendants last Friday, Judge Anthony Pitt described their actions as “amateurish.”

‘Sensitive’ pictures

Although the pictures contained “nothing disgraceful,” they were private and “highly sensitive,” the judge added.

Southwark Crown Court, London
Southwark Crown Court, London

He ordered Abdulbagy to serve four-and-a-half years in prison, and handed his wife a two-year jail term.

However, that sentence will be suspended for two years – an “act of mercy” by the court because the couple has five young children, two of whom have disabilities, the judge added.

While Mohammed played a lesser role in the scheme, her sentence reflected her position as the “steel in the back” of her husband and her initiative as being the first of the couple to telephone the embassy, PA reported.

She apparently told embassy staff that they had found the pictures and said she wanted to claim a prize.

The judge said that while the couple had initially hoped to return the lost goods for a small “thank you,” they then began attempting to extort money.

In his sentencing, he said:

“I don’t know what they would have paid … but shortly after you turned to criminal threats as to how not just to get a small thank-you, but how to get a life-changing amount of money.

It was an opportunity that formed in your mind, and perhaps that of your wife as well, of gaining a large sum of money, a life-changing sum of money. A ransom, in effect, for the return of the items,” PA reported him as saying.

Blackmail demands

During the trial, Qatari diplomat Ali Al-Hajri testified that he spoke to the couple, who at first demanded GBP600,000, and then GBP300,000 (QR1.15 million) in return for the memory stick and camera.

Al-Hajri said they then sent him threatening messages in Arabic.

“The wording is very clear when he says ‘I’m not going to wait any longer’ – this is clear blackmail,” the Daily Mail reported him as saying in court.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson said during the trial that Abdulbagy had repeatedly called and sent messages to the embassy demanding money. He was arrested after a third meeting at the mission in London’s Mayfair.

The missing items were found in his car, which had been parked at the nearby Dorchester Hotel.

Thoughts?

23 COMMENTS

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desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

What a dumb donkey. He could’ve received more money by just selling them to the papers anonymously.

obok
obok
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Said the Egyptian lol

Mehrea
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

This means if it was you, you would have sold it for money. You should better delete your comment before so many people read it. You are advertising your manners in public.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Mehrea

No, the person doing this had nefarious thoughts and with that he should’ve at least thought it out and been smart on that level about it. Never said I did or would. Not sure how you got to that conclusion. And what you think of my manners means nada.

Diego
Diego
6 years ago
Reply to  Mehrea

I believe what desertCard meant that if someone was going to stoop this low, then the best place to go would be a bottom feeding newspaper,many of who do exist in the UK.They would have no issues with paying for pictures and then claiming they have to protect their source under some law.Calling the Qatar Embassy meant a whole other thing, and that thing was ensuring they were going to be caught and charged.Thats how I read it.

Marco
Marco
6 years ago

Note: case took 2 years to complete with jail sentence awarded. No on-going appeals, no breaks for overseas holidays or repeated failure to appear at court…….

CLGourmet
CLGourmet
6 years ago
Reply to  Marco

Failure to appear is not an option. That will get you straight to the slammer. A warrant will be issued for immediate arrest. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Simon
Simon
6 years ago
Reply to  CLGourmet

Do not be Ambassador to Belgium.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

So was this person a British Citizen or just a random Sudanese born driver?
They should be serving jail time from day one, this leniency is not right. Jail is supposed to be a punishment as I am sure most criminals have children it is not a legitimate defence.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

At least there. Here you get the court to postpone postpone postpone so you can go on vaca while on trial for the deaths of 19 people.

dubious
dubious
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Well Abdulbagy is in pokey, but paying for Mohammed to also be put away and then the fostering of 4 kids some with special needs will be expensive! It’s not called Budget Britain for nothing!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  dubious

Well if they are really Sudanese why are don’t they deport Mohd with all her little kids back to the paradise that is Sudan. It’s what Qatar would do.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

Well they could cancel his visa and deport him back to where he came from with a two or three year no entry stamp or perhaps the system works differently out there and without a sponsor, mandook and other hangers on to make things more complicated. Their country their rules and who are we to complain

Yousef
Yousef
6 years ago

TMZ and VIVID …would have paid him well and we would get to see how the 1% really live !!

Mehrea
6 years ago

It’s the driver or the house maids who might know your privacy. You have to be careful how you handle them otherwise they will be disloyal and expose your privacy or use it to destroy your reputation. This driver and his accomplice tried to change their lives by blackmailing innocent employer. You can never live on someone’s sweat or change your life by stealing. Decent mannered people do decent things but, what do you expect from such desperate people who just wanted to be rich with easy way?

Mohahmed
Mohahmed
6 years ago

“While Mohammed played a lesser role in the scheme, her sentence reflected her position as the “steel in the back” of her husband ” – Is it really necessary call her by her second name? @dohanews

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Mohahmed

That’s common practise in English and shows no disrespect.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

Deleting for personal attack.

A concerned expat
A concerned expat
6 years ago

Unfortunate that the Qataria legal process is not as efficient or quick as that in the UK. I am remembering the 13 who died in the Villiagio Fire, the Phillipino family killed by hit on new airport road and so many others.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Hey Brorick, I didn’t suggest to sell it to the media, that’s what they were threatening to do. Reading is fundamental.

Lisa Clayton
Lisa Clayton
6 years ago

What a piece of work that couple is – blatantly dishonest opportunists.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

How did they think they would get away with it?

The worst part is that their children will suffer from their stupid decisions. It will be tough for any family member who has to care for 5 additional children (assuming they have some of their own) and even tougher to take special care of children with disabilities. Hopefully these children will still have a chance for a good life.

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