Payout after Hatfield piracy case

TENS of thousands of pounds has been paid out after a judge ruled a Hatfield businesswoman’s illegal profits could be given to her creditors.

As previously reported by the WHT, gang leader Farhat Nissa used her well-respected music CD brokerage SFH on Hatfield Business Park as a front.

Along with husband Mohammed Shaikh the pair were guilty of running a massive piracy ring costing the music industry �5m.

Among the artists pirated were pop diva Mariah Carey, R&B act Destiny’s Child, and rapper 50 Cent.

Nissa’s independent CD brokerage, purportedly providing copying and duplicating services, was one of the largest in the UK.

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In an industry first, a crown court judge ordered �70,000 in illegal profits to compensate record labels whose copyright was infringed.

The case was long and often complex, with the UK music industry showing a keen interest because an estimated 1.2m pirate CDs had been imported, flooding shops and market stalls across south east England, depriving them of valuable royalties. Greg Palfrey, the liquidator and joint administrator from the Southampton-based office of Smith & Williamson, spoke of his satisfaction with a good outcome for creditors following the 32-month case.

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He said: “This was a welcome, and unexpected, present for scores of unsecured creditors who thought their hard-earned money had been all but lost.

“Unsecured creditors are usually last in line for any pay-outs, while secured creditors, such as banks, are at the head of the queue because they have secured assets in the business.”

Secured creditors have already recovered balances due to them of around �1.5m across the two SFH companies.

Meanwhile dozens of unsecured creditors including 15 former employees were earmarked a �218,000 pay-out across the two companies, equivalent to 15.5p and 4.9p in the �1.

The bulk of realisations came from the companies’ debtors and selling the firm’s industrial unit at Hearle Way, Hatfield.

? Nissa, 35, and her husband Mohammed Shaikh, 38, of Amberden Avenue, Finchley, north London were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the music industry, between May 21, 2003, and December 22, 2005, after a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

She was jailed for four-and-a-half years and he was given 12 months behind bars.

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