A Bangladesh-origin businessman, and a former deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets have been linked to a £2 million bribery scandal involving one of the largest skyscraper construction projects in London.
Businessman Abdul Shukur Khalisadar, 38, who allegedly has close ties to the Labour Party, asked the developer for the money to guarantee planning permission for the £500 million project, the Sunday Times reported.
In a secretly recorded conversation, Shukur described how he had sought the bribe from John Connolly, UK head of development for Hong Kong-based property group Far East Consortium.
He is also heard saying that the money would be split among four politicians – half a million each.
A consultant, acting on FEC’s instructions, recorded the conversation, the Daily Mail reported.
Shukur, who also allegedly sought a £15,000 monthly consultancy fee, claimed Shiria Khatun, the former deputy mayor of Tower Hamlets, had introduced him to Connolly in October 2015.
In a leaked internal memo, Connolly had said that Shiria told him Shukur ‘can help get planning consent’ for the proposed £500 million development in the Isle of Dogs, east London, according to the Daily Mail.
Shiria, who resigned earlier this year, has denied any wrongdoing.
Both Shukur and Shiria are of Bangladeshi origin, according to Bangla Tribune.
Tower Hamlets Council has referred the case to the National Crime Agency, saying it was "committed to fighting corruption."
Shukur told The Sunday Times that he had asked for £2 million but denied this was a corrupt offer, according to the Daily Mail.
He claimed he was not involved in any wrongdoing when speaking to the Mail and dubbed the recording ‘partial and misleading’.
He said he did not bribe anyone and that no contract of any type was signed with FEC, adding that neither the police nor the council had been in touch with him since the incident two years ago.