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Court appereance for ex-royal

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

A MEMBER of the former Iranian royal family has appeared before magistrates in Ipswich charged with a multi-million pound cigarette smuggling racket.

Company director Benham Qajar Alagha, the great grandson of the former Shah of Persia, was charged with the fraudulent evasion of duty of an estimated 200 million cigarettes.

A MEMBER of the former Iranian royal family has appeared before magistrates in Ipswich charged with a multi-million pound cigarette smuggling racket.

Company director Benham Qajar Alagha, the great grandson of the former Shah of Persia, was charged with the fraudulent evasion of duty of an estimated 200 million cigarettes.

This is a substantial increase on the original charge of the fraudulent evasion of duty on 31 million cigarettes.

Ipswich-based customs officers swooped to arrest company director Qajar Alagha in June.

He was arrested along with work colleague Ronald Brennan at a company called Dayfield technology.

Both men were charged with plotting to smuggle contraband cigarettes into the country through the Port of Felixstowe.

The immaculately dressed pair remained silent throughout the court hearing except to confirm their name and address.

Father-of-three Qajar Alagha of Links Road, Epsom, Surrey, had at an earlier hearing been granted conditional bail at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court with a surety of £125,000.

Brennan, aged 70, of Ross Court, Lubbock Road, Chislehurst in Kent, had also been granted conditional bail with a £100,000 surety.

Both men arrived punctually at the Elm Street Courthouse dressed in suits and listened intently throughout their hour long hearing, where they had applied to vary their bail applications.

At an earlier hearing Qajar Alagha's solicitor Richard Christie said if his client was to return to Iran, formerly Persia, he would face the death penalty.

His family were overthrown in 1921.

Neither Brennan, also a company director, nor Qajar Alagha have entered pleas to the charge.

Magistrates in Ipswich again granted the pair conditional bail – this time with slight alterations – and ordered them to return to the court again on November 23.

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