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Suds law!

A businessman found himself all washed up recently after Waltham Forest Council’s Trading Standards service brought a successful prosecution against him for selling counterfeit washing powder, shampoo and conditioner.

On 1 August a trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court that lasted almost two weeks came to a conclusion with Mr Ali Riza Bozdag of Reedham Close, London N17 and his company, Red and Blue London Trading Ltd., being found guilty on eight counts of selling counterfeit washing powder, shampoo and conditioner. 

After the jury found that Mr Bozdag had not exercised the relevant standard of care necessary to avoid committing an offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and had not acted as a responsible trader he was given an 18 month custodial sentence.

He was also ordered to make a contribution of £5,000 towards legal costs and pay a £100 Victim Surcharge upon his release from prison. There is a Proceeds of Crime Confiscation Order pending, with a hearing likely to take place later this year.

When sentencing, the Judge said, “Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime, which is expensive and time consuming to detect. Counterfeiting undermines the trust people have in legitimate trademarks and legitimate traders need to work harder as their businesses are undermined.”

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, added, “Counterfeit washing powder can damage clothing, cause the breakdown of washing machines, and cause skin irritation and even risk eye and ear infections.”

“This businessman made a decision to look to maximise his profits at the expense of his customers and is duly paying the price. When the goods he was trading were tested they were found to contain no preservatives, making them a medium in which bacteria could multiply easily.”

Mr Bozdag, 48, was brought to the attention of Waltham Forest Trading Standards in July last year when information that a consignment of 2640 x 8kg boxes of counterfeit washing powder addressed to his business premises had been detained by customs.

Kent Trading Standards received confirmation from a trademark representative that the items were counterfeit and subsequently a declaration consenting to the destruction of the goods was signed by Red and Blue London Trading Ltd.

A month later local police asked Waltham Forest Trading Standards Officers to attend the premises at Leyton Industrial Village. Suspected counterfeit washing powder, conditioner and shampoo was seized and Mr Bozdag was arrested.

After confirming he was the sole owner and Director of Red and Blue London Trading Ltd. he said he had started buying the washing powder from ‘a Polish person’ and that he later purchased it from a company called Sterling Multi Media Ltd. He did not dispute that the washing powder was counterfeit, but put forward the defence that he did not know, and had no way of knowing, that it was counterfeit.

He denied that the shampoo and conditioner on his forecourt belonged to him, claiming it was destined for the waste management company next door. However he could not say who the ‘people’ were that he allowed to use his forklift truck to unload the items, and when the waste management company was questioned they denied any connection with the items.

During the trial the validity of Sterling Multi Media Ltd. was thrown into question when an owner could not be found and evidence proved that Red and Blue London Trading Ltd. and Sterling Multi Media Ltd. were using the same premises and the same computer to conduct business.

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