Rahman, who has been banned from seeking office again, was also found to have allocated local grants to buy votes. He was ordered to pay immediate costs of £250,000 from a bill expected to reach £1m.
Summing up, Judge Richard Mawrey said Rahman had sought to play the “race and Islamophobia card” throughout the election and would no doubt do so after this judgment. “He was an evasive witness – Rahman was no doubt behind illegal and corrupt practices,” Mawrey said.
He also faces being stripped of his profession as a lawyer after the judge claimed he told “a pack of lies” in the witness box. The ferocity of the judge’s verdict provoked gasps in court. Friends of Rahman claimed he had been unfairly treated.
Police on Thursday struggled to react to the judgment, based mainly on evidence put together by local voters. Last April, detectives examined allegations of electoral fraud and corruption against Rahman but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
It seems very strange that the Met didn’t get involved. Will they now?
Nick Cohen explains how “the neurotic fear of accusations of race and religious bias in Britain helped Lutfur Rahman control the London borough”.