Sohan Singh – Profile of a Councillor
Councillor Singh apparently attempted to have the Council annul £1400 of private debts he had racked up.
Earlier in the year he participated in a business group aiming to partner with the Council linked to disgraced Council leader Stephen Purcell.
He has operated as a landlord with a licence on homes he bought in the East End from the Council for £1 which was sold on agreement that they would be renovated. They have not been renovated.
Unlicensed alcohol sales have been taking place at hotels he owns.
HMRC has taken the step of closing down one of his companies after he racked up huge unpaid bills.
He has recently been charged with perverting the course of justice.
Previously he was convicted for his part in a major VAT bootlegging operation.
He is a regular Labour donor, but was suspended for eight weeks not long after his election for parking in a disabled bay.
All of this information is in the public domain and provides explanatory briefing supporting the generally held public opinion that embattled Singh is not the best example of a public servant.
16 July 1999: The man behind Scotland’s biggest duty-free drink scam is jailed for six years.
Singh was at the centre of a fraudulent operation involving enough whisky and vodka to give every adult in Scotland two drinks each. Singh, 46, from Bishopbriggs, was found guilty of defrauding the country of £1.6m in duty on 16 lorry loads of whisky over a 10-week period. Customs investigators who brought him to justice reckoned the scam involved duty on more than eight million pub measures of whisky and vodka.
Sentenced with Singh at the High Court in Glasgow were two co-accused, James Sanderson, 43, and Craig McAteer, 29. Sanderson, from Nitshill in Glasgow, was found guilty of evading £399,000 in duty, and McAteer, from Motherwell, of evading £376,000 in duty. They were jailed for three years and 30 months respectively.
The case against a fourth man – spirits broker Kevin Burrage, 36, of Shoeburyness near Southend – was found not proven. Another accused, Anthony Sawers, 31, from Hamilton, also walked free from court.
During the trial, the court heard how a series of phoney liquor exporting firms were set up to further the scam. Fake orders for drink were faxed to a London bond. Once paid for – free of duty – the drink was supposed to be exported to Germany, France, Italy and Denmark and Spain. But instead the consignments were driven to Scotland and hidden at secret storage places in Coatbridge, West Calder, Livingstone, Wishaw, Bannockburn, and Glasgow. Lonely farmhouses were also used by the gang. From there, cheap drink was sold in under-the-counter deals to off-licences all over the central belt and distributed in hired vans. Customs and Excise was so concerned at losses of duty and VAT in the west of Scotland that its elite National Investigation Service moved in.
The Customs officers secretly took photographs of the participants and the handover of drink to the buyers. They watched off-sales owners drive away with so much whisky and vodka that their cars and vans were down on their springs. On 11 March, 250 Customs officers swooped on 65 premises throughout the UK. Singh and his gang were arrested and charged, and spirits they had not yet sold – worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in duty – were seized. More than £40,000 in cash was ordered to be confiscated by the court. After the trial, Singh was notified of the Crown’s intention to seize his assets. Sentencing Singh, Lord Phillip told him: “You were in overall control in Scotland of a wide-ranging, carefully planned and efficiently run operation designed to defraud the state and you were making large profits.”
10 April 2005: A Curry shop boss jailed over Scotland’s biggest duty-free fraud has been cleared after the Customs operation against him collapsed in chaos.
Singh, 51, was jailed for six years after being convicted of dodging pounds 1.6 million of tax due on lorry-loads of booze in one ten-week period. But he has been cleared after serious flaws were revealed in the Customs operation.
Singh, who runs the Bombay Blue curry house in Glasgow, spent just 10 months in jail after being convicted along with James Sanderson, who got three years, and Craig McAteer, who got two and a half. They stood trial in 1999 after undercover Customs officers claimed they sold 16 lorry-loads of whisky – meant to be sent abroad duty-free – on the British black market. Customs claimed the staggering haul was enough to give every adult in Scotland two duty-free drinks.
But the cleared Scots are just some of the prosecutions that have collapsed in the wake of the Customs operation. Up to pounds 2 billion was lost in unpaid taxes during the sting operation, centred on a tax-free warehouse called the London City Bond. Customs allowed the fraud to continue in the hope of catching Mr Bigs but the cases have collapsed since their informant was exposed as a main player in the scam.
Singh was released pending his appeal in March 2000. Last night he said: ‘My lawyers appealed against my conviction and my sentence. ‘At that time we didn’t know anything about what the Customs had been doing. ‘That didn’t come out until a court case in Manchester about six months after I had been released. ‘The prosecution were in no hurry for the appeal to go ahead but they eventually had to admit that I was not guilty. My conviction was quashed last year. ‘That means that everything has been scratched from my record. I am completely clear.’
Singh says he is not interested in suing and says compensation is not important. He said: ‘I am very lucky that I don’t have any problems or high blood pressure, despite everything that has happened. ‘I don’t need the money. If I got pounds 50,000 or pounds 100,000 then so what? ‘My children are happy, they are getting a good education and that is far more important to me than compensation.’
Singh was alleged to have been making pounds 40,000 profit on every lorry-load, selling the booze on for between pounds 4 and pounds 5 a bottle. On March 11, 1998, Customs officers ‘knocked’ the operation. More than 250 officers from Scotland and England arrested 21 suspects and executed 55 search warrants.
More than 2500 cases of spirits were seized to add to 4400 cases that had been impounded. Officers also found documents at the LCB showing that at least 15 lorry-loads traced to Scotland had gone overseas. A dozen export forms had false foreign stamps.During his trial, it was revealed that Singh had been a target for some kind of vengeance over a deal which went wrong. In July 1998, while he was on bail, three hooded men walked into his office and systematically clubbed him with baseball bats, breaking both of his legs. Singh’s sentence was a year short of the maximum possible.
The judge Lord Phillip told Singh: ‘You were in control in Scotland of a carefully-planned and efficiently-run operation designed to defraud the state and you were making huge profits.’ In 2000, Singh was released pending his appeal and when it eventually came to court, in June last year, the Crown told the court that they would not be resisting the appeals. Singh and McAteer walked free.
McAteer, one of Singh’s alleged lieutenants, was the best friend of murdered drug dealer Justin McAlroy, shot dead after attending a Labour Party fundraiser at his dad’s club. Hitman William ‘Tiler’ Gage was convicted of McAlroy’s execution last year but the man who paid him has never been caught.
10 April 2005: UP to 20 Customs officers are under investigation by police after their disastrous operation against LCB.
The profits from the scam – which the fraudsters called ‘The Swerve’ – were enormous. Despite documents claiming they were heading abroad via ferry ports, the lorries full of duty-free vodka and whisky swerved off course and headed to Scotland. Their loads were hidden, mainly at warehouses in Coatbridge, West Calder, Livingston, Wishaw, Bannockburn and Glasgow. From there, plain white vans took the cheap drink to off-licences across the Central Belt.
But convictions linked to the massive operation were overturned after it emerged the key customs witness, Alf Allington – the managing director of LCB – lied under oath about his status as an informant. His customs handlers had turned a blind eye as he helped the huge fraud proceed with an estimated loss of pounds 2 billion in lost duty.
In the appeal of four men at the Court of Appeal in London last year, Customs admitted that they had intelligence that Allington himself was involved in committing frauds and was taking bribes. Customs now admit that Allington should never have been called as a witness ‘relied on by the prosecution’ in the trial in February, 1998. In the case against Singh and McAteer, Customs decided not to use Allington as a witness but to call an employee of his, Raymond Buckledee, instead. But Allington did give evidence in several trials after February 1998 and was still appearing for the prosecution as late as 2000.
14 February 2012: A curry entrepreneur has been accused of stealing £1.46 million of taxpayers’ cash after the £7.3million sale of his upmarket hotel and restaurant, it was reported in the Scottish press recently.
Archie Sharif, 43, sold the Lorne Hotel and Bukharah restaurant in Glasgow after his business hit the rocks. But instead of handing over £1.46 million in VAT from the sale, he is accused of transferring the cash to a bank in Pakistan. HM Revenue & Customs foiled the alleged fraud days after Sharif travelled to Karachi to try to access the money in November.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland then took Sharif to the Court of Session where judge Lord Brailsford agreed to freeze the businessman’s assets under proceeds of crime laws. One source said: “Glasgow criminals have been at the epicentre of the VAT fraud crimewave which has cost the UK economy billions of pounds. “It makes a welcome change if the taxman has managed to prevent one from taking place.”
Pakistan-born Sharif bought the A-listed Lorne hotel in Glasgow’s west end in 2007 after it had lain derelict for six years. Bankrolled with £11million from private investors and the Royal Bank of Scotland, he turned it into an upmarket 102-bedroom hotel, Indian restaurant and cocktail bar. At the time, he said: “This is the biggest thing I’ve taken on but I am proud to own this hotel and I want to restore it to its former glory.”
Two years ago, he admitted trading conditions were tough but saw the Bukharah named restaurant of the year at the Scottish Curry Awards. Just three months later, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed.
Sharif later sold the building for £7.3million to Bellhill Ltd, whose director is well-known curry restaurateur Sohan Singh. Singh, 58, has been chosen by Labour as a possible candidate in local elections later this year. He was jailed along with drug dealer Craig McAteer, 42, and another man in 1999 for a £1.6 million duty-free tax fraud but Singh’s conviction was overturned on appeal.
A petition lodged at the Court of Session accused Sharif of selling the hotel but failing to pay the VAT. The cash was instead sent to an account at the Standard Chartered bank in Karachi. On November 18, Sharif was accused of travelling to Pakistan to access the funds but HMRC flagged up their probe with bank bosses. Standard Chartered then returned the cash to a United National bank account in London.
The Lorne Hotel and the adjoining restaurant has become a favourite haunt of north Glasgow crime clan head Jamie Daniel and his mob. It was also where the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council Stephen Purcell, 39, held a party last week. The meal was staged to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute Purcell over alleged corruption and drug use. But Purcell spent the night of the party in a police cell following his arrest after a disturbance at his flat.
On November 25, Lord Brailsford agreed to freeze the United National account plus two others controlled by Sharif – one at Bank of Scotland branch in St Vincent Street, Glasgow, and another at RBS in Milngavie. It is not known how much money is held in the three accounts. The judge also agreed to freeze the sale of Sharif’s home in Newton Mearns, Glasgow, but allowed him to operate another bank account for “reasonable living expenses”. Sharif was personally bankrupted last July but the sequestration was recalled in September. HMRC refuse to reveal how much taxpayers are owed in connection with Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd.
25 May 2012: A new Labour councillor and prominent businessman was operating as an illegal landlord for at least 11 months up until his election.
Singh was renting out some of the 28 properties in a block of flats in the north of Glasgow, which he bought from the city council for just £1 around 10 years ago. However, just over a month before the local elections a few weeks ago, neither the flats nor the landlord were registered with Glasgow City Council –despite having tenants for at least a year.
15 October 2012: Police target councillor over licence breaches at hotel
A Labour councillor exposed as operating unlawfully as a landlord has been targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches at a hotel and claims of hampering criminal enquiries. Sohan Singh, a member of Glasgow’s ruling Labour administration, has been issued with a written warning by his own council after Strathclyde Police called on licensing chiefs to take action against his Lorne Hotel in the city’s west end.
Police complained that, in breach of alcohol laws, staff had not been trained, management structures were non-existent and staff were unable to help officers access CCTV footage following a string of assaults at the venue. Officers complained staff at the hotel could not give any contact details for managers when the police called on several occasions and that one supposed manager worked in a newsagents facing the hotel.
During the meeting it also emerged that Singh was employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen following the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Singh at a loss of about £4m last year but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money to a bank in Pakistan from the sale.
Lord Brailsford froze the businessman’s assets under proceeds of crime laws late last year, as well as freezing the sale of Sharif’s home in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire.
Just before the sale to Singh, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed. Singh failed to appear at a meeting of Glasgow’s licensing board yesterday, to the obvious irritation of councillor colleagues on the body, with the company represented by Mr Sharif.
The Herald revealed during the summer how Singh, a well-known restaurateur, had been operating without a licence as a landlord for flats he had bought from the council for just £1 a decade earlier.
Singh had already been selected as a Labour candidate at the time and was operating unlawfully despite warnings from the council leader “rogue landlords” would be fined £50,000. He resigned from his ceremonial role as a city bailie – essentially a stand-in Lord Provost – as a result.
The latest brush with the authorities over failure to adhere to legislation will heap more embarrassment on Labour, with many in the party uneasy about Singh’s selection as a candidate. The 58-year-old was jailed along with two other men in 1999 for a £1.6m duty-free tax fraud, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. At yesterday’s meeting, board chairman and Labour councillor Malcolm Cunning said: “It seems there was a laxity in management, which existed on paper but not in reality.”
Archie Maciver, Singh’s legal representative, acknowledged the shambolic management but said this had been resolved with the installation of Mr Sharif as manager. The Lorne was the venue for the wake of notorious gangland figure Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll, who was murdered in 2010. It was also where Stephen Purcell, the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, held a party to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute him over alleged corruption and drug use.
22 October 2012: Calls for city councillor to be expelled
Pressure is growing for a Labour councillor to be expelled from the party after he was allegedly caught using a blue badge belonging to a relative to access a disabled parking space.Sohan Singh, a prominent businessman elected to Glasgow City Council earlier this year and already stripped of a ceremonial role, will be interviewed by party enforcers tomorrow after his second brush with the authorities in a week.
Singh was representing Glasgow at the Strathclyde Fire Board at South Lanarkshire Council in Hamilton when he was spotted using the disabled bay, to the fury of his boss, city council leader Gordon Matheson. He is understood to have told colleagues that the blue badge belonged to a niece. Fraudulent use of the badge can carry a penalty of up to £1000.
Just last weekend, The Herald revealed how Singh’s hotel, the Lorne in Glasgow’s west end, had been sanctioned amid a variety of breaches of alcohol laws and claims of hampering police investigations, while it also emerged his manager had recently had his assets frozen under proceeds of crime laws. And just after his election in May it came to light that he had been operating illegally as a landlord in flats he had bought from the council for just £1. Sources within the Labour administration said that, while the party has procedures to adhere to, they expect “serious action” as the city’s leadership is “not at all happy”.
But despite promises of a “thorough investigation”, opposition politicians on the council have called for Singh’s removal from frontline politics. SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: “Since being approved as a Labour candidate Singh has shown himself to have little regard for licensing laws in terms of housing and the sale of alcohol as well as showing a contempt for the disabled by abusing the blue badge scheme. “Surely he has now reached the end of the line with the Labour party and Mr Matheson will move to have him expelled from the Labour Group. If not, the public will wonder just what Labour regard as their so called A Team.”
Tory councillor David Meikle added: “It seems every week there is a scandal involving Sohan Singh and people are now rightly demanding that Labour take action against him. If they don’t, they will be right to wonder who or what is protecting him.” The Herald is aware of councillors from across the political spectrum having received letters from constituents expressing “disgust” that Singh has not been asked to resign.
Just weeks after being elected, Singh stood down as a city bailie – a ceremonial role which could have seen him stand in for the Lord Provost at official engagements – when it emerged that while a candidate for Glasgow North East he operated illegally as a landlord. He failed to register in a mandatory scheme, despite the council leader warning “rogue landlords” would be fined £50,000. During last week’s licensing board meeting it also emerged that Singh was employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen following the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Singh at a loss of about £4m last year but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money from the sale to a bank in Pakistan.
Singh himself faces a court sequestration action in December over a £100,000 loan and could have his political career halted if he is made bankrupt. A Labour group spokesman said: “Abuse of blue badges is an extremely serious matter and the council’s business manager will carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations.”
24 October 2012: Glasgow Councillor suspended from the labour party
Glasgow City Council’s Labour group booted out Sohan Singh for eight weeks after he parked illegally using his niece’s disabled blue badge. The restaurant and hotel tycoon was also removed from the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue board. He was at a committee meeting in Hamilton when he parked his Mercedes in a disabled bay.
Singh, 59, is a pal of shamed ex-Glasgow council leader Steven Purcell. Earlier this month, Singh’s Lorne Hotel in the city’s west end was rapped for breaching booze laws. In May, just after he was elected, it emerged he had been operating as an illegal landlord. He also faces a bankruptcy action in December over an alleged £100,000 loan. A Labour spokesman said: “Councillor Singh committed a serious breach by failing to uphold standards.” Singh said: “I accept full responsibility and apologise unreservedly.”
21 February 2013: RBS blames Crieff closure on Drummond Arms Hotel ruin
The state of a crumbling Perthshire hotel has come under attack after a bank was forced to close its doors as a result of structural damage. The Royal Bank of Scotland said that the deterioration of the Drummond Arms Hotel in Crieff’s James Square means it can no longer safely serve the people of the town. The bank has been operating from temporary premises but says that, as there is no solution in sight, it has decided to close in the summer. “Despite our best efforts, we cannot safely reopen the branch because of the disrepair of the Drummond Arms hotel,” said an RBS spokesman. “As an interim measure, we have been renting a portable building from the council. However, this is not a long-term solution and, as a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on June 19. “We have advised staff and will be helping our customers to make alternative arrangements. A mobile bank will provide regular banking services in Crieff.”
MSP Roseanna Cunningham expressed anger at the situation and laid the blame at the door of a Glasgow councillor who owned the hotel. “I had been in touch with the local manager trying to arrange a meeting to discuss their situation, since it was clearly unsustainable for them to continue to carry out their business from a portable building, but this news has come as an absolute bombshell,” she said. “My anger, however, is not directed so much at the RBS as at the owner — or immediate past owner — of the Drummond Arms Hotel, whose abject failure to maintain, let alone redevelop as promised, this historic Crieff building has to a great extent forced the hand of RBS. “Sohan Singh, who is a Labour councillor in Glasgow, bought the Drummond Arms and promised much, but delivered absolutely nothing.”
However, Mr Singh was adamant that he was not to blame for the situation. He said: “I have not owned the hotel since March 2012. Throughout my ownership, I sought support to redevelop the hotel, even speaking with RBS, but without success. “I regret that, given the recession, funding proved impossible. I sold the hotel to others who assured me of their desire to bring the building back into use.There has been no sleight of hand on my part. “I have had no correspondence from Roseanna Cunningham about the hotel when I owned it, so I am confused about why she has only now chosen to speak out and her accusations about me have no foundation. “If Ms Cunningham had spoken to me when I was the owner, then she would have understood what happened and the problems that I, along with others, faced in these economic conditions. “I regret that, as with so many other businesses in the recession, my business plans did not work out. “I am sorry that Crieff is losing out as a result. I can only hope that RBS can find a solution to ensure that it remains in Crieff.”
16 July 2013: Scandal-hit councillor Sohan Singh involved in new row over unpaid bill which officials wanted to write off
A Controversial councillor is embroiled in a new row over an unpaid bill – which officials tried to write off. Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh’s Lorne Hotel in Finnieston owed almost £1400 to the council-owned Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. Despite repeated requests, the bill was not paid. And after four months, officials at the agency recommended to their board – which includes council leader Gordon Matheson – that the debt be written off.
But it was pointed out there could be a conflict of interest because the debtor was a councillor. A source said: “Gordon Matheson looked horrified when he realised whose business it was.” The hotel finally cleared their tab after the Daily Record approached Singh, 60, who said he had been unaware of the debt.
Singh, who was jailed in 1999 for tax fraud before being cleared on appeal, has been involved in a string of controversies over illegally-rented flats and using disabled bays unlawfully.
Tory councillor David Meikle said: “It’s a shame it took the Record’s intervention for Councillor Singh to do the right thing. “I hope in future he ensures that all his businesses pay up and the council take all steps to recoup bad debts.”
27 August 2013: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has moved to wind up one of a raft of companies owned by a controversial Labour politician
In the latest in a string of revelations about his businesses which have embarrassed party bosses and colleagues, HMRC has presented a petition to the courts to wind up Bellhill Limited, one of a raft of companies owned by Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh. Bellhill is the vehicle for Singh’s Lorne Hotel in Glasgow’s west end. It has previously been targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches and claims of hampering criminal enquiries, leading to Singh’s own local authority issuing him with a written warning.
A notice in the Edinburgh Gazette, an official publication of the UK Government which includes insolvency and bankruptcy announcements, said HMRC was calling on the court to appoint a liquidator to the company. The 60-year-old is listed as the sole director of Bellhill. Singh was recently suspended by the Labour Party after police moved on another of his Glasgow hotels, Artto, when it came to light it had been selling alcohol without a licence for over a year.
The Lorne Hotel has also been the subject of speculation among Singh’s estranged political colleagues after it emerged its electricity was being provided, at least partly, by a mobile generator parked outside the Sauchiehall Street venue. In little over a year in frontline politics Singh, who represents the north-east of Glasgow, has been affected by constant revelations.
It emerged he had operated unlawfully as a landlord in flats bought for £1 from the council, he was temporarily suspended by the council’s Labour administration for admitting to parking in a disabled bay while on council businesses and he quit the ceremonial post of bailie for the council. He also racked up debts to the city council’s marketing bureau and was accused by a Scottish Government minister of being responsible for the closure of a Perthshire bank because of the state of the adjoining property which he owns.
One source said: “This really does make it easier for Labour to keep Sohan out and close all doors to a return. It may not be the defining thing but as he continues to embarrass people he’s just hammering nails into his own coffin. “I can only begin to speculate how much he owes HMRC but it must be a considerable wedge if they’re seeking to liquidate. The generator outside the Lorne has been a topic of conversation for some time now.”
Glasgow SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: “Cllr Singh’s track record is simply awful and an almost daily embarrassment to his political masters. I hope those controlling Glasgow Labour bring this rather sad episode to an end soon for all our sakes.”
It is also the second time the Lorne has been in trouble with HMRC. It emerged last year Singh had been employing the man from whom he had bought the hotel for around £7.5 million, who had his assets frozen after the deal. Archie Sharif sold the hotel to Mr Singh at a loss of about £4m in 2011 but was apprehended by HMRC after he attempted to move money to a bank in Pakistan from the sale. Just before the sale to Singh, HMRC petitioned to wind up Sharif’s trading company Lorne Hotel Glasgow Ltd and a liquidator was appointed.
HMRC said that while the figures owed to it would be publicly available when the matter came to court it could not comment on individual cases and reveal the extent of the debt.
7 September 2013: A Scottish Labour politician, currently suspended by the party, has appeared in court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh appeared on petition at the city’s Sheriff Court 10 days ago, along with another man, Mahesh Sharda. Singh, 60, made no plea or declaration and was bailed. No date has been set for Singh’s next court appearance. Mr Sharda was similarly bailed after making no plea or declaration.
Singh was only elected to Glasgow City Council in May 2012 and represents the North East ward. A well-known businessman before becoming the first Sikh elected to political office in Scotland, he owns a raft of hotels, including Artto in Glasgow city centre and the Lorne Hotel in the west end.
He had been suspended from the Labour group on the council in late 2012 after admitting to using a disabled parking space while on business for the local authority. His current suspension from Scottish Labour is not related to his Glasgow Sheriff Court appearance on August 28.
30 September 2013: Glasgow and a tale of its first Sikh councillor
Sitting in the cubicles of one of his prime hotel properties on bustling Hope Street, a dapper-looking billionaire entrepreneur Sohan Singh has been busy drawing up the list of Indian dignitaries coming to attend the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2014 in Glasgow. The 60-year-old, who had brought the Queen’s baton from India to Scotland last year, is the first Sikh to be elected to Glasgow as the city’s councillor. He ran the elections on Scottish Labour Party in 2012. He now sits on Glasgow’s CWG committee as its member.
“Being a councillor with my Indian and Sikh roots is a privilege for me. The Commonwealth Games represent a huge opportunity for Glasgow, especially in terms of the social and economic benefits and lasting legacy they will leave for the community of this city. It is the biggest event the city is ever likely to stage and I’m really looking forward to my role of showcasing Glasgow to the world and to my Indian colleagues,” Singh said
19 Jun 2015: In Crieff, the Drummond Arms Hotel has become a derelict eyesore in this picturesque Perthshire town.
Crieff Community Trust (CCT) had been in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland with a view to establishing a Community Right to Buy (CRTB) that would enable a long-term solution to be found for the hotel.
Ailsa Campbell, chairman of CCT, expressed her exasperation to BQ about how a positive scheme – supported by 22% of the local electoral role in Crieff – had become stuck. “We’ve had massive local support to do something about the hotel. We’ve won the Community Right to Buy yet we have hit a brick wall. It has all been depressing. At the moment, we have a ‘watching brief’.”
The group sent its proposal, along with required signatures contained in a petition, to the Scottish Government, with the aim of finding a community or multi-purpose use for the James Square premises. Last December, a meeting between the trust’s representatives, Perth and Kinross Council, and Strathfare Ltd, the current owner of the derelict hotel, took place at Crieff Hydro.
Mrs Campbell said that the Royal Bank of Scotland, rather than helping the local community, closed the branch attached to the hotel and sold it to Strathfare.
Ranjeet Singh, a Strathfare director, and Sohan Singh, its former owner, told the meeting they intend to have the building wind, watertight and structurally safe, by the end of April, although the trust maintain the hotel is in a sorry state.
The building, estimated to be worth between £450,000 to £500,000, is not up for sale or being marketed, as the owners say the market isn’t conducive to achieving what they believe it is worth. Mrs Campbell reckons a further £4m will be required to refurbish the building and bring it back to life.
According to a minute “The owners made it clear that, for now, they did not intend to do anything that would trigger the CRTB, as they would be looking to achieve significantly greater than its current market value, and they would be happy to retain the property for years, until the property market had improved.”
14 December 2015: Glasgow councillor Sohan Singh cleared of perverting course of justice, following row over Hindu priest
A Glasgow councillor has been found not guilty of allegations of attempting to pervert the course of justice in a row involving a senior religious figure. Sohan Singh could now be in line for a Labour comeback after a long–term suspension was imposed on him due to an unrelated controversy.
Singh, who is behind the Artto hotel and popular Bombay Blues restaurant in the city, was elected as a Labour councillor for Glasgow North East in 2012. However, he was suspended by the party within months of getting elected over claims he misused a disabled parking badge at a fire board meeting in Hamilton. The councillor said of the incident at the time: “I fully accept my behaviour has fallen short of the standards expected of elected officials.”
Singh then appeared in court to face serious criminal allegations. He was on trial this year charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after allegedly informing a woman that her immigration status would be affected if she continued a complaint against a Hindu priest.In evidence, the woman alleged that the priest had made inappropriate comments towards her and asked her to spend a night away with him.
She claimed she contacted Singh, a Sikh, after he was recommended to her about helping with her visa application. The woman claimed she met Singh at the Artto Hotel and alleged in court that he “started a conversation about the Hindu priest case”. She alleged he told her that it “shouldn’t go to court” and that “we should talk and resolve this matter”.
The woman also told the court: “He said that it can affect your visa status as well.” However, Singh denied the charges and was found not guilty on November 27 by a sheriff. A co-accused was acquitted.
A Scottish hotel has ended up with the rudest name imaginable after its Facebook page was C-bombed. The three-star Lorne Hotel in Glasgow was changed on the social media site to the C*** Hotel. The hotel’s page was hacked in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Lorne Hotel’s recent history has been as colourful as its new name, including serving as the venue for the wake of murdered gangster Kevin ‘Gerbil’ Carroll.
The change in Facebook name has not-so-funny potential consequences for unwitting visitors. Those who have in the past ‘checked-in’ to the hotel on Facebook are now listed as visiting the ‘C*** Hotel Glasgow’ on their own pages. And those who have tagged the establishment in pictures now may have to answer bemused questions from family and friends who will see that they stayed the night at the ‘C*** Hotel’.
The duty manager, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘We are aware of this matter. Obviously as admins we can see it. ‘But once a name is changed on Facebook you can’t physically change it for two weeks. We have been in contact with Facebook to get it changed back as soon as possible.
As well as serving as the venue for ‘Gerbil’s’ wake in 2010, it was also where Steven Purcell, the shamed former Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, held a party to celebrate the Crown Office’s decision not to prosecute him over alleged corruption and drug use.
Previous owner Sohan Singh, a former member of Glasgow’s ruling Labour administration, was targeted by police over alcohol licensing breaches at the hotel in 2012. He was issued with a written warning by his own council after Strathclyde Police called on licensing chiefs to take action. Archie Maciver, Singh’s legal representative, acknowledged the shambolic management but said this had been resolved.
At the time, board chairman and Labour councillor Malcolm Cunning said: ‘It seems there was a laxity in management, which existed on paper but not in reality.’