Regulators have taken action against a South London solicitor convicted for his role in an immigration conspiracy. The Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed this week it had intervened into Sheikh Muhammad Usman, from Tooting firm Harvard Solicitors, effectively closing his practice down.
Usman, 45, was convicted at Croydon Crown Court earlier this month of conspiring to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law. He was jailed for seven years.
The SRA confirmed that London firm Russell-Cooke LLP has been appointed as the intervening agent and will handle the firm’s affairs.
It was reported earlier this month that Usman was part of a group which included a Home Office worker that helped to falsify records so at least 437 people could remain in the country. The conspiracy brought in more than £6.18m, with much of the money sent to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Dubai where members of the group had strong links. Each illegal immigrant was charged a £14,000 for help in arranging ‘ghost’ identities to allow them to stay in the country.
Sentencing four men, Judge Gower said: ‘These offences are particularly serious. They strike at the heart of our immigration system and undermine public confidence in that system.’
Mark Cotter QC, Usman’s lawyer, reportedly told the court that Usman’s business had ‘drifted into criminality’.
According to its website, Usman had been the principal solicitor with Usman & Co Solicitors before taking on the same role with Harvard Solicitors in 2015. He has no connection with with Usman Pervez Sheikh, admitted in 2007, of Ansar London Limited.