A company director torched his own factory in a bid to try and con an insurance company into paying him up to nearly £2 million.
Haroon Bashir, 43, deliberately set fire to his unit on a Dundee industrial estate in a brazen attempt to dupe insurers into making a huge payout.
Bashir launched the claim – worth up to £1.75 million – but was unaware he had been captured on CCTV being driven away from the burning building.
Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova said: “He is married and in full-time employment.
“Faztek is a printer supplies company, distributing cartridges, toners and print equipment to commercial businesses and offices.
“The accused is the principal shareholder and director. They lease and occupy the building. Chohan Management owns the building and is run by the same family.”
She told Dundee Sheriff Court that the “worst case scenario” claim could provide a payout in excess of £1 million for Faztek and £750,000 in respect of Chohan Management.
Engulfed in flames
At 10.48pm on February 11 2018, an interior alarm was activated and a security guard from a neighbouring property saw smoke billowing from the building. He could see a fire exit was open.
“At 10.59pm the police arrived and were met by the accused at the front gates. They could see white smoke coming from the building and that the fire exit was ajar.
“The small storage area was totally engulfed in flames. The seat of the fire was established as an 8 x 10 ft storage room,” the prosecutor said.
“It was established it was a deliberate act – using a naked flame on a combustible material. It could not be established if accelerant was used because of the ink, dye and toner in the debris.
“Fire had consumed the entire room. The main office was undisturbed. Of interest were two documents found on a desk relating to a credit agreement between Faztek and Allianz Insurance.”
She said: “On February 12, 2018, Allianz were notified about the fire. The claims process was instigated. The broker stated here had been ‘significant loss’.
“A CCTV review revealed a silver car registered to a family member driving across the Kingsway and to the Asda store adjacent to the industrial estate.
“It remained there for nearly an hour and is then seen driving away as smoke starts to escape from the building.
“A figure is seen to emerge from the building and get into the car which had stopped a short distance away from the gates.
“Haroon Bashir was identified from the footage. A section of the insurance policy, breaking down what the insurance company would pay out, was marked and highlighted.”
Bashir, of Errol Road, Invergowrie, admitted setting fire to items in the storage area at Faztek Ltd in Dundee on February 11 2018 and destroying the fabric of the building.
He also admitted forming a fraudulent scheme between February 11 and March 16 2018 to obtain money by fraud from insurance company Allianz Ltd.
Sheriff Paul Brown deferred sentence for reports and asked for the court to be provided with information about the total cost of the actual damage caused.
He said he also wanted information about the adjacent buildings and the cost of the operation to the emergency services of extinguishing the fire and investigating the circumstances.