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Film pirate jailed over Fast & Furious scam

Jason Stathams stars in Fast & Furious 7 (Matt Crossick/PA)
Jason Stathams stars in Fast & Furious 7 (Matt Crossick/PA)

A film pirate who plotted to release a Fast & Furious movie before it hit the big screen could have cost the industry more than £200 million, police said.

Malik Luqman Farooq, 31, was jailed for 27 months at Southwark Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud between September 2014 and April 2015.

A City of London Police investigation revealed he had been making blockbuster movies available to download online.

Farooq offered pirate films for sale, including Fast & Furious 7, starring Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, using the alias “Dark999”.

The movie, which had been stolen from a post-production film company, was not yet in the cinemas.

Some 15 copies of other films, also yet to be released, were found in a search of Farooq’s home in Shalimar Street, Halifax.

Police said the Motion Picture Association of America estimated the potential loss relating to Fast & Furious 7 alone would have been 287 million dollars (about £220 million) if it had been put online before its official release date.

Detective Constable Abdun Noor said: “Fast & Furious 7 was the second highest grossing movie in 2015.

“Industry estimates show the potential loss suffered, had the film been released before the official cinema date, would have been substantial.

“Our investigation ensured Farooq was arrested before he was able to release this particular film to the public.

“Digital piracy causes significant damage to the companies involved in producing films, not only in terms of profits, but also in terms of putting jobs at risk.

“Anyone who is thinking of committing digital piracy, like Farooq, should see this case as a warning.

“Piracy is not a victimless crime and we will ensure these criminals are brought to justice.”