‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood jailed for 15 months
LONDON: Undercover journalist Mazher Mahmood has been jailed for 15 months after being found guilty earlier this month of perverting the course of justice in drug trial case.
He was accused of tampering with evidence in the collapsed drugs trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos.
Mahmood, 53, the self-styled “king of the sting”, and his driver Alan Smith, 67, were found guilty following a two-week Old Bailey trial of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by changing a police statement.
Earlier this month, a jury found they plotted to suppress evidence in the collapsed 2014 drugs trial of British pop singer and TV star Tulisa Contostavlos, which resulted from a Mahmood sting.
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In a typically elaborate operation, Mahmood posed a film producer and offered Contostavlos a Hollywood career and a movie role alongside star Leonardo DiCaprio.
She was accused of arranging for Mahmood, who dubbed himself “King of the Sting”, to be sold cocaine by one of her contacts.
In a statement to police, Smith said the singer had made anti-drugs comments in the car — which could have proved helpful to her lawyers in the case.
Smith emailed Mahmood the statement and spoke to the reporter, after which Smith removed the comments from his statement.
As this emerged, the Contostavlos trial collapsed and prosecutors turned their attention to Mahmood and Smith.
The pair will be sentenced on October 21.
Mahmood’s list of sting targets include several members of the royal family, sports stars and TV celebrities including the Pakistan cricket trio, Amir, Asif and Salman Butt.