Jewellery store owner brought stolen goods from notorious gang

PUBLISHED: 17:03 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:03 17 January 2020

Ammir Kohanzad, 70 leaving court. Picture: Staff photographer

Ammir Kohanzad, 70 leaving court. Picture: Staff photographer

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A jewellery store owner has been banned for five years from acting as a director after he convicted of buying gold items from an East Anglian criminal gang, who stole more than £2m worth of property across the region.

Ammir Kohanzad, 70, who owns Danesh International Jewellery in Hatton Garden, London, was convicted by a Norwich Crown Court jury of handling stolen goods after he parted with £5,300 to members of the gang for jewellery items, which he melted down.

Kohanzad, from London, was cleared of a second charge of handling a diamond necklace, which he had also bought from the burglary gang a few days earlier.

William Carter, prosecuting, said because the items had been melted down it was impossible to say where the gold came from.

However he said the way the gang operated was that they disposed of stolen goods shortly after any burglary.

After the jury found him guilty of the one charge, Judge Stephen Holt imposed a nine months jail sentence suspended for two years and disqualified Kohanzad from acting as a director for five years.

Judge Holt said that Hatton Garden was a leading jewellery business area in Europe and said: "People come to Hatton Garden for honesty and that is a very important feature."

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However he accepted Kohanzad was a hard-working man who had built up a successful business.

He adjourned a confiscation hearing until June.

Richard Carey-Hughes, for Kohanzad, said that he had the court case hanging over him for some time.

He said it was a one-off offence: "He has been careful since then and there has been no further trouble."

He said that as well as running the business, Kohanzad also helped care for his elderly mother, who was in her 90s.

During the trial, the court heard how Kohanzad had bought a necklace from two members of the East Anglian gang on November 2, 2017 which later turned out to have been stolen in a burglary, in Cambridgeshire, at the home of a semi-retired antiques dealer.

Police carried out a further raid at his store a few days later on November 7, and this time seized some gold which Kohanzad had also bought from members of the gang.

In police interview Kohanzad told officers he was too busy to ask for ID.

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