THE director of a company specialising in car body kits and accessories must payback almost £190,000 in three months for selling fake Audi parts.
Zeeshan Khan, Director of Xenonz UK Ltd, which is based off Parry Lane in Bradford, pleaded guilty to 16 trademark offences after an investigation into the company.
It related to the online sale of counterfeit car parts bearing the Audi trademark.
Mr Khan was sentenced on February 26, in 2019, to a 12 month community order for 250 hours of unpaid work following a hearing at Bradford Crown Court.
Xenonz UK came to the attention of West Yorkshire Trading Standards when Audi voiced concerns after making a test purchase from the company.
Audi examined the purchased item and confirmed it was counterfeit.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards then went to the business premises of Xenonz UK, in Unit 4, Crown Works, Parry Lane, in Bradford.
Trading Standards officers discovered a further 403 counterfeit items there, all relating to Audi trademarked goods.
The total value of these items was more than £12,000.
The investigation showed that Mr Khan had imported the parts from China.
When questioned about this, he stated he was unaware of trademark legislation and confirmed he had never applied to be an authorised trademark holder.
He accepted that he did not perform any due diligence on the items when they arrived from his supplier in China and had accepted verbal confirmation that the parts were genuine.
On Thursday, October 22 this year, a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was held at Bradford Crown Court in relation to the case.
Mr Khan was found to have benefited from his offending to the amount of £309,664.
His assets available for confiscation were calculated as £187,664.77 and, as such, a confiscation order was made for that amount.
He has been given three months to pay.
Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager said: “Counterfeiting not only costs brand holders millions each year, it can also cost the consumer.
"Counterfeit goods are often of a poorer quality and may not have been tested to the correct UK safety standards.
"I would strongly advise consumers, especially in the run up to Christmas, to purchase genuine goods to ensure they are getting the quality and safety standards legitimate brands uphold.”
Councillor Pauleen Grahame, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Governance and Audit Sub-Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said: “This is a great result for the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service.
"Some of the money recovered from this criminal activity will go back into investigating these types of crimes and making sure that West Yorkshire residents are protected.
"Consumers might be tempted by the low price of counterfeit car parts, however I would urge West Yorkshire residents to think twice before purchasing due, to the uncertainty of their safety standards.”
Mr Khan said he "holds his hands up" for what he did.
He added: "I made a genuine mistake, I've paid for this heavily, for my actions.
"At the end of the day, I didn't intend to go against copyright laws.
"It was just something I was doing, selling car parts and accessories.
"I didn't realise it was going against copyright laws.
"The business is currently making the same products but abiding by copyright law.
"As soon as I found out, I remanufactured and took all logos off."
Mr Khan said he advised the court that he had made these changes.
He added: "They watched me for nearly four or five years.
"I've had no previous convictions, no issues, I was squeaky clean."
"I was bombarded with it all at once.
"The judge said it should have ended in Magistrates'.
"He was shocked I didn't get told or a slap on the wrist, but that they built a case up.
"I would advise companies to contact lawyers about copyright laws."
If you suspect someone of selling counterfeit goods, you should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Hotline on: 0808 223 1133.