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Self-styled entrepreneur and Instagram 'influencer' reportedly arrested after get-rich-quick scheme collapse

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:34 04 November 2019

Com Mirza addressing Leverage members at a packed promotional event. Picture: Submitted

Com Mirza addressing Leverage members at a packed promotional event. Picture: Submitted

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The co-architect of an east London investment scheme that allegedly left 1,700 people out of pocket has been arrested in Dubai, according to the Gulf News.

Com Mirza, left, in promotional gear for Habibi Coin, and right, older brother Rocky Mirza. Picture: SubmittedCom Mirza, left, in promotional gear for Habibi Coin, and right, older brother Rocky Mirza. Picture: Submitted

The co-architect of an east London investment scheme that allegedly left 1,700 people out of pocket has been arrested in Dubai, according to the Gulf News.

Aziz "Com" Mirza was reportedly arrested by Bur Dubai Police on October 27.

It followed a complaint made by a resident of the United Arab Emirates who claimed they had lost $150,000 to one of Mr Mirza's investment schemes, Gulf News reported.

Mr Mirza, a self-described "$500 million dollar man" states he lives in the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai and has an Instagram page filled with images of Ferraris and luxury yachts.

An Instagram post from December 2017. The Mirza brothers partnered with the Muslim Entrepreneur Network early on and promoted Leverage online.An Instagram post from December 2017. The Mirza brothers partnered with the Muslim Entrepreneur Network early on and promoted Leverage online.

But over the past year he has also been dogged by allegations in relation to his real estate projects, a defunct cryptocurrency - and an investment scheme he helped set up in east London called Leverage. He has denied allegations of fraud.

In February this year our newspapers exposed how Leverage, run by the Muslim Entrepreneur Network, had ended in disaster and dozens of complaints to Action Fraud.

Around 1,400 people paid between £225 and £25,000 in 2018 to join the programme, which promised a profitable business and "financial freedom".

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Com Mirza heavily promoted the scheme in the early days alongside his older brother Rocky Mirza and Amazon seller Haroon Qureshi, who live in Ilford and operated for six months from Al Madina Mosque in Barking.

It later transpired that £1.7million of investor funds was sent to the Mirzas' brother's company in Dubai and tens of thousands more was paid into their private business concerns overseas, without investors' knowledge.

Some 32 households in Barking and Dagenham, 22 in Redbridge, and 34 in Newham are thought to have been affected by Leverage. One person in Ilford lost £150,000.

An investor, Nabil Madar, who lost £3,800, recalled Com Mirza addressing an excited crowd at promotional events.

Promotional material for Leverage, which hundreds of households in east London signed up to.Promotional material for Leverage, which hundreds of households in east London signed up to.

He said: "The atmosphere early on was electric. It was so hyped. I put so much trust in these brothers [my fellow Muslims] and went home thinking 'I'm so ready for this'."

People who joined Leverage were also encouraged to invest in Com Mirza's cryptocurrency, Habibi Coin. Many did so to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds.

But the promised returns did not materialise and in January 2019 the website abruptly shut down, with investors told it was "being reacquired".

A Canadian ex-business partner, Jagger Babuin, who said he and his family had personally invested $1million into Habibi Coin, told this newspaper: "Our initial event for Habibi launched in Panama city in July of 2017. Over the next few months I grew increasingly frustrated at the lack of actual progress."

Habibi Coin, a real estate-backed cryptocurrency for Muslim investors, appears to have shut down.Habibi Coin, a real estate-backed cryptocurrency for Muslim investors, appears to have shut down.

A large number of ex-Leverage members in London have now been refunded and Leverage's remaining proponents accused others of conducting a "smear campaign" against them.

When contacted by this newspaper about Leverage in February, Mr Mirza said he was "travelling" but added: "The allegations are denied. I can't comment whilst I'm bringing legal proceedings against third parties."

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