Luton councillor to face trial over alleged travel agency fraud

Cllr Mohammed Ashraf
Cllr Mohammed Ashraf

A serving Luton councillor will face trial later this year over an alleged business fraud.

Mohammed Ashraf, 59, of Denbigh Road, is accused of lying that his firm, Luton Travel Services, had Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) protection.

Cllr Ashraf is also alleged to have lied about being affiliated with Pakistan International Airlines and claiming that his firm did not offer trips to Mecca, which it did.

He is also accused of supplying Luton Borough Council with false documents.

The 59-year-old’s case was brought before magistrates last Thursday and has been fixed for a two day trial on June 6.

Cllr Ashraf has pleaded not guilty.

The charges have been brought against the 59-year-old under statute which protects consumers against unfair trading.

Cllr Ashraf, who has represented the Dallow ward since 1987, was previously LBC’s portfolio holder for trading standards and also served on the council’s executive as recently as May 2015.

He was suspended from the Labour Party over the alleged fraud last year, but at the time the party refused to give its reasoning behind the move.