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Students Charged In Jewelry Scam

December 15, 1997

LONDON (AP) _ Two college students appeared in court Monday on charges of luring a California jeweler to London by posing as a member of Brunei’s royal family and stealing $2.9 million worth of gems, jewelry and watches.

A deputy magistrate rejected the students’ applications for bail and ordered them to remain in custody until Dec. 22.

Scotland Yard said the two students, along with a third student charged with handling the stolen goods, were arrested over the weekend.

The Daily Express had reported that a man telephoned Mohsen Vossough, a manager at the Beverly Hills, Calif., branch of New York-based Fashion World Inc., saying he was a relative of the billionaire Sultan of Brunei and wanted to buy a wedding present for one of the sultan’s sons.

The caller arranged to fly a man and woman from the jewelry firm to London on a private jet, the newspaper said.

Scotland Yard said the theft took place Nov. 28 outside a hotel in central London, where the jewelry firm’s representatives met with a man, who arrived with bodyguards in a fleet of chauffeur-driven cars.

Pakistani-born Khawar Zaman, 24, a business information technology student at Thames Valley University, and Manchester-born Omar Mohammed Ayub, 22, a business student at Bolton University, were charged with conspiring to steal $2.9 million worth of jewelry.

The alleged plot involved the illegal use of credit card details to order flights, bookings at top London hotels, and the hiring of bodyguards, Rolls Royces and other prestigious cars.

The third student accused in the alleged crime was Ayub’s cousin, Ajnal Ayub, 18, who lives in greater Manchester. He was charged with dishonestly handling $146,700 worth of stolen jewelry recovered by police.

Prosecutors told the court that police are still trying to recover $2.5 million worth of the stolen watches, bracelets and other gems brought to London by the jewelry firm.