A Cambridge academic energy fraudster pocketed £1 million of green grants from the government.
Dr Ehsan Abdi-Jalebi has been jailed for four years following a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation proving he submitted fake invoices to Innovate UK, the EU and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
He set up Wind Technologies Limited in 2006 and had conducted successful research in the field – however, he was found to have dishonestly received £2.8 million of project funding in grant money.
It was proved Mr Abdi-Jalebi had falsified documents such as invoices, accounts and bank statements to secure larger grants than the company was entitled to.
He siphoned off sections of the funds and was caught at Heathrow with £100,000 in cash hidden in a box of chocolates as he boarded a flight to Iran in May 2016.
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Ian Truby said: “While the companies that Dr Abdi-Jalebi was involved with were doing some legitimate work in the field of renewable energy, he used them as a cash cow to siphon off money.
“This money had come in as government grants, so it was essentially stolen from taxpayers.”
Mr Abdi-Jalebi admitted 13 counts of fraud. A number of his UK assets have been seized although a large proportion of the illegal earnings are thought to be stuck in Iran.