Court sentences £50m MS piracy ring to 10 years

Confiscation looms

The UK end of a huge Microsoft software counterfeiting ring has been brought to book, with four convicted of conspiracy to defraud.

Akbal Alibahai, 34 of Palmers Green, London and Nabil Bakir, 29, of Ascot,Berkshire, directors of a company called PC Software, were each sentenced to
four and a half years in prison. Two accomplices, Adam Collier, 32 of Sandhurst, Berkshire and Chiam Dias, 35 of Marylebone, London were each given custodial sentences of four months.

The ringleaders, who have already been through an eight and a half month trial, now face further court action to confiscate some of the millions that they are believed to have made, Microsoft says.

The gang is estimated to have sold £50m worth of MS software, acquired from counterfeit network operating in the Far East and America.

So how did the operation work? Microsoft explains:

"Dias operated a small computer supplies company, Wayfarer in Shoreditch, east London, used to fulfil fake invoices and launder money from Alibhai's and Bakir's software operation. Dias then sold these products to a company run by Collier, a former
painter & decorator prior to becoming managing director of two software companies, Oracle Worldwide Trading & Lothbury Corporation... The focal point of the activity in the UK centred on companies in
the Thames Valley who were storing and distributing counterfeit software." ®