A blackmailer stalked a £130m hedge fund boss as he tried to extract £15,000 for a nose job after the finance expert headbutted him during an ill-tempered game of pool.
Waiter Alexander Khlaf, 20 - posed as ‘Charlie Rich’ from Goldman Sachs - as he pursued the pay-out while making threats to the victim.
He pleaded guilty to making an unwarranted demand with menaces between December 19, 2016 and January 17, last year and was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
“It’s obviously really scary for someone, the amount of money was ludicrous in the extreme,” said Southwark Crown Court Judge Joanna Korner QC told Khlaf.
“For over a month you subjected him to a form of terrifying blackmail that amounts to a stalking campaign.”
The court heard Khlaf, of
Chatsworth Court, Kensington, was in a West End nightclub in the early hours of December 18, 2016 when he challenged the victim to a wager over a game of pool.
“The game escalated into an argument and there was shouting an pushing and shoving caught on CCTV,” said prosecutor Mr. Paul Addison.
“The CCTV captures the complainant head butting this defendant and they had to be separated by security, with this defendant refusing to shake hands afterwards.
“He then commenced for the next few weeks to extract a sum of money from the complainant for a claim of personal injury.”
Khlaf had read about the victim’s recent £130m City deal, quoting it during his blackmail of the Holborn-based hedge fund manager, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He posed as a ‘Charlie Smart’ phoning from Goldman Sachs to get through to the victim and demanded money for an operation on his broken nose.
“He made comments about the complainant’s occupation, where the complainant’s parents lived and he would meet him with his own personal security team,” explained Mr. Addison.
There were multiple calls and emails, ending with a demand for £15,000 and on December 23 Khlaf turned up at his office building and phone from the reception area.
On January 11 the victim received two more calls from Khlaf, who was obviously in the building and the next day he tried to get in again, but was blocked by security staff.
He then sent a picture he had taken of the victim’s office boardroom to him to show he had access to the building.
On January 13 Khlaf phoned him at midnight. “He threatened to contact the complainant’s colleagues and finalise press coverage and call the police.”
By now the victim had reported Khlaf to police and he was arrested outside the office on January 19 while pretending to be on the phone to a private detective.
The victim told officers: “All these incidents left me worried. The threats were unjustified and I was scared at what he would do next.
“I was scared every time I left my office and would rush to a waiting taxi outside.”
Khlaf was also made subject to a five-year restraining order, prohibiting contact with the vicim, must pay him £500 compensation and attend 20 days of rehab.