Boxer Amir Khan became the target of a ‘spectacularly inept’ blackmail plot in which the blackmailer emailed Khan claiming to have a sex tape of the boxer and a girl and would release it unless money is paid.
Hamza Din, a complete stranger to Khan, emailed Khan’s management team and told them he was in possession of a video showing the boxer and a girl together in a hotel room in a Newcastle.
He threatened to release the video which he claimed was ‘100 per cent real’ unless they ‘matched the price’ it could fetch, Bolton Crown Court was told.
Mr Khan’s management team reported the e-mail demand to police before they even told the boxer of its existence.
But the footage did not exist and Din was arrested at his home address after the e-mail was linked back to him.
Din, who the court heard has mental health and gambling problems, pleaded guilty to a single charge of blackmail.
Timothy Greenald, prosecuting, said Din had created a new e-mail account using the name ‘Harry Dean’ and send the e-mail on March 27 and was arrested on June 22 after the e-mail was traced to his home computer.
Mr Greenald said: “The Crown say that while no figure was mentioned, the court may infer that a significant sum was in prospect, bearing in mind the profile Mr Khan has.
“The intention may have been to recover a fairly significant sum. The material never existed but damage to Mr Khan’s reputation and charity work could have been caused.
“They involve false allegations of a sexual nature.”
In a statement read to the court made by Mr Khan, the boxer said he and his family had ‘not been overly affected by what has gone on’.
But he added: “I do not want anyone else to be put in a position that me and my family have been put in.”
Amir Khan asked the court for Din’s mental health to be taken into consideration before sentencing him.
Judge Richard Gioserano said Din was suffering from an undiagnosed and untreated mental health condition – bi-polar disorder – and praised Mr Khan’s response to the whole episode.
He said: ‘When Mr Khan was told he knew that it could not be true. He was worried about the harm that the mere making of an allegation, though baseless, could cause.
‘It is to his credit that Mr Khan has expressed a wish that he is treated medically rather than be jailed.’
Din was given a 16 month sentence, suspended for two years.