An international crime boss from Trafford who lived a ‘life of luxury’ has been jailed for 37 years after being brought down by Greater Manchester Police.
Aram Sheibani was described as a “calculated, deceitful and scheming” individual who funded his £5 million property estate, collection of classic cars and yacht parties through drug dealing and fraud.
But the crime boss was taken down when police raided one of his opulent homes in Altrincham in 2019 – with officers finding thousands in cash, safety deposit keys, crypto currency recovery codes, cocaine, and two mobile phones with military grade encryption.
Two devices were smashed and submerged down the toilet in an attempt by Sheibani to destroy evidence.
During further raids of Sheibani’s other properties, police found cash counting machines, encrypted USBs, and a ‘substantial amount’ of drugs including cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy.
Two Bentleys, a gull wing Mercedes and a Porsche were recovered, as well as a number of original artwork pieces – including those by artists such as Banksy and Andy Warhol – which were later found to be obtained through illegitimate means.
The warrants led to the discovery of £1.2 million of cash and £1.5 million in crypto currency overall.
Sheibani dedicated time to covering his tracks by purchasing, re-mortgaging and selling properties in the UK and Spain – attempting to ‘complicate and frustrate law enforcement’ with regards to understanding his income.
He also obtained properties by fraud – masquerading as a legitimate businessman whilst falsifying his earnings to facilitate further borrowing.
Sheibani failed to file tax returns or declare income during some financial years, and produced forged documents and bank statements to support his false declared earnings.
During interrogation, he failed to provide pins and passwords for encrypted electronic devices and iron key USB – behaviour for which he was given an additional three years in jail.
Sentencing Sheibani at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court for 20 fraud, money laundering and drug offences, Judge Anthony Cross QC told the 40-year-old that his “greed knew no boundaries.”
Sergeant Lucy Pearson, of GMP’s Economic Crime Unit, called Sheibani a “dishonest individual who has not shown any remorse for his actions throughout this entire investigation, refusing to co-operate with police and attempting to destroy evidence.”
She added: “The extent of Sheibani’s criminality should not be underestimated, not only is he involved in tax evasion and money laundering which has a detrimental effect on the economy and society, resulting in honest tax payers feeling that burden, but the source of his tainted income is as a result of a class A drugs conspiracy.
“May today’s sentencing serve as a warning to anyone thinking they can get away with such fraudulent and criminal activity, we will find you, and ensure that you face the full consequences of your actions.”
Government refuses to deny reports HS2 may not run from Manchester to central London
The UK government is refusing to deny recent reports that HS2 may not run from Manchester directly through to central London.
The Sun reported this week that HS2 is currently in “shambles” and that rising inflation and construction costs could mean that trains may terminate in the suburbs of west London instead of London Euston, as has always been planned – with the paper saying transport bosses were considering pushing back the service’s Euston terminus to 2038, or even scrapping it all together.
The paper reported that trains would be instead stopping at a new hub at Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs, which is about 8km (five miles) away from Euston.
Passengers would then have to finish their journeys into central London by using the Elizabeth Line.
On top of all of this, the paper also reported that anywhere between a two to five-year delay to the entire project is also being considered by the government, however ministers are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.
A statement provided by a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson reads: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the autumn statement, and as well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”
HS2, which has the full name High Speed 2, was originally intended to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
The leg to Leeds has since been scrapped in November 2021, but work on the first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is now well under way, with a part of the line due to open by 2033, despite the fact the project has faced delays and mounting concerns over the exact route, and its potential environmental impact.
While a budget of £55.7 billion for the whole of HS2 was set in 2015, this was made before the Leeds leg was cancelled, and the estimated cost of HS2 was therefore set between £72 billion and £98 billion at 2019 prices.
A report published last October found it was unlikely that the £40.3 billion target for the first section of the line would be met.
A senior figure at the DfT warned last week that ” tough decisions” could lie ahead for the scheme.
Featured Image – HS2 (via gov.uk)
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”