A landlord and developer who converted a house into 12 rental flats without planning consent has won an appeal against a £1.43m confiscation order - but still faces a £544m358 confiscation bill and the threat of jail if he fails to pay.
Salah Madhi Ali, 54, failed to comply with an enforcement notice requiring him to return a house to north London after the property was discovered to have been converted into 12 units without planning permission.
Mahdi had four months to comply with the notice but having failed to do so, an order for the confiscation of £1,439,180.59p was lodged; this was based, at the time, on the entire rental and housing benefit income received by Mahdi over a six-year period.
However, it applied not only to Mahdi's income from the property in question but also from three other properties which he had converted into flats without planning consent.
Now the Court of Appeal has slashed the sum from over £1.43m to only' £544,358 because it found that rents he had received prior to the enforcement notice being served, or before the time for compliance had expired, should not have been taken into account in the original judgement.
Mahdi now has six months to pay the new total, or face a prison sentence of up to five years if he defaults.