Four curry houses in the East End have been raided by police in a joint operation with trading standards officers and customs over allegations of ‘dodgy’ cheap wine.
The wine has been imported from Italy and sold to restaurants at around £2 a bottle. It was given free with meals, to entice diners off the street, one restaurant boss revealed.
The operation took away samples of wine at two Clifton restaurants, one in Whitechapel Road near Brick Lane and the other near Canary Wharf, and also at a Clifton’s supermarket in Westferry Road. The Clifton restaurants are owned by Brick Lane businessman Shiraj Haque, who was behind the campaign to elect Lutfur Rahman as mayor of Tower Hamlets. The fourth premise raided was Shampan’s restaurant in Brick Lane.
The wine is under investigation over allegations that import duty was not paid.
A police spokesman said: “Inquiries are ongoing. We cannot comment on the details, but can confirm that officers went into the four restaurants and some wine was taken away.”
The raids were a joint operation with HM Custom & Excise and Tower Hamlets council’s trading standards officers on March 21.
A council statement said: “We take trading standards issues seriously and have a number of ongoing investigations taking place.”
Investigators are now trying to trace the distributors who sold the imported wine.