AN SNP councillor who almost became an MP lied and fabricated evidence in a bid to cheat his wife out of a fair divorce settlement, according to a sheriff's damning judgment.

Dr Imtiaz Majid, who is well-known to Nicola Sturgeon, deliberately concealed his wealth and pretended to lose tens of thousands of pounds though a gambling addiction.

His two younger brothers were also part of the scam, which involved a bank transfer of £250,000 ostensibly in return for company shares and a house sale of almost £120,000.

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After all three brothers gave evidence in the divorce proceedings, Sheriff Morag Galbraith called the trio “evasive” and said she “did not find any of them credible at all”.

She said some of Dr Majid’s evidence had been “entirely unacceptable and incredible”, and she considered some of his other claims “ludicrous” and “a complete fabrication”.

Dr Majid also kept his wife Uzma, who at one stage left him to go to a woman’s refuge in London, “continually short of money” and in a house which was “inadequately furnished and heated”.

Sheriff Galbraith ordered Dr Majid to pay Uzma Majid, who cares for their two children, a lump sum of £150,000 to correct the “economic imbalance” she had suffered during their marriage, when Dr Majid had been “left free to pursue his business and political interests”.

Dr Majid, 51, a North Lanarkshire councillor who appeared in a Yes Scotland video claiming to be a successful businessman in 2014, nearly became the SNP MP for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill last year after being endorsed by two cabinet secretaries.

Alex Neil said he would be “an excellent asset for the SNP in Westminster”, while Keith Brown said he was “passionate about independence and would work tirelessly for his constituency”.

Dr Majid won a local candidate selection but was disqualified by SNP HQ for failing vetting.

A late replacement, Phil Boswell, went on to win the seat for the SNP by 11,501 votes.

Dr Majid recently appeared alongside the First Minister at the annual dinner of the Pakistan Welfare Trust, of which he is a trustee, and is also well-known to former FM Alex Salmond.

The sheriff court judgment, dated September 23, said Dr Majid wed his wife in an arranged marriage in Pakistan in December 2002.

Mrs Majid, now 42, was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK in February 2004.

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When the marriage ran into trouble, Dr Majid swiftly and deliberately divested himself of capital assets in an effort to “defeat” his wife’s anticipated claim for financial support, according to the judgment.

Within weeks of Mrs Majid first leaving her husband in September 2006 to go to “a woman’s refuge in London”, he sold his home to his brother Sarfraz for £119,500, and sold his shares in three family businesses to Sarfraz and his other brother Asif, apparently for £250,000.

Dr Majid also quit a family firm run by his father, Majid Properties, in which he had had a stake of around £120,000.

After a short reconciliation, the couple finally separated in April 2008.

When Dr Majid later instigated divorce proceedings, his wife sought a settlement of £500,000 plus £2000 a month.

Mrs Majid's lawyers argued her husband ought to have had around £369,5000 from the house and share sales to his brothers.

But Dr Majid claimed to have gambled away most of his money - his side said he had just £700 left by 2008 and that Mrs Majid was "a woman interested in money".

The dispute led to 11 days of hearings at Airdrie Sheriff Court earlier this year.

Dr Majid’s brothers gave evidence that they paid him £125,000 each for company shares, initially as a bank transfer, but then in cash after an alleged problem at Dr Majid’s bank.

Sheriff Galbraith said Asif Majid “changed his evidence to such an extent” she had to remind him he was on oath, and said Dr Majid’s claim about a bank problem “is to my mind ludicrous”.

She did not accept the brothers’ evidence and concluded the episode had been a charade, "contrived" to give the impression Dr Majid had cut his ties to the firms, while actually still "closely involved" and able to access funds.

She said: “I find his evidence in this respect entirely unacceptable and incredible... I found all three Majid brothers evasive in their evidence and did not find any of them credible at all.”

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She said Dr Majid's renounciation of his interest in Majid Properties was also "not a bona fide transaction. He gave away his interest for nothing and is now not a partner in the firm. It is perfectly clear to me that he did so in order to defeat the defender's [Mrs Majid's] claim."

Sheriff Galbraith was also scathing about Dr Majid’s evidence to the court that he had given his wife £150,000 in cash from the boot of his car at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station in December 2006.

She said: “I have no hesitation in finding the pursuer’s [Dr Majid’s] evidence in this regard totally incredible and I consider it to be a complete fabrication. The manner in which the evidence was given was in my view calculating and evasive. I completely reject the pursuer’s averment that he gave £150,000 to the defender at any time.”

Sheriff Galbraith also cast doubt on Dr Majid’s claim to have lost a fortune through gambling, saying: “In my view the pursuer attempted to use that as a means to conceal his assets.”

Regarding Dr Majid’s claim to have improved his wife’s family’s circumstances since their marriage, Sheriff Galbraith added: “I simply did not believe the pursuer and considered that this was a further attempt by him to avoid his responsibilities”.

She also called evidence from Dr Majid’s father Mukhtar “not reliable and in many respects incredible”, adding: “The evidence from the pursuer and his brothers was far from acceptable”.

She noted that, despite Dr Majid’s family owning “a multitude of properties”, estimated at between 30 and 50, his ex-wife had been forced to rent from a private landlord.

“In my view a payment of £150,000 to the defender would be fair in this particular case and would to some extent balance the situation. The extent of the pursuer’s wealth is really unknown,” she concluded.

Dr Majid's solicitor, former sheriff Hugh Neilson of Marshall Wilson Law, said his client intended to appeal against the judgment.

Mrs Majid could not be contacted for comment.


Political Implications

THE blistering court judgment on Dr Imtiaz Majid threatens to reignite a bitter SNP feud.

Known to colleagues as ‘Jimmy’, the Coatbridge South councillor is a key figure in the so-called ‘Monklands McMafia’ row which has split the party in Lanarkshire.

He is part of a group dubbed the McMafia, which is linked to MSPs Alex Neil and Richard Lyle. New MSP Fulton MacGregor, who nominated Dr Majid as convener of the Coatbridge branch earlier this year, is also linked to the group, as is Airdrie MP Neil Gray.

The group is reportedly locked in a power struggle with a rival faction centred around Phil Boswell, the MP for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill.

Dr Majid was expected to become the Coatbridge MP last year, but failed vetting at the last minute, allowing Mr Boswell to step in and win the seat instead.

The tensions erupted in January at a chaotic SNP meeting when Dr Majid accused one of Mr Boswell’s staff, councillor Jule McAnulty, of racism.

The party suspended Ms McAnulty, but Dr Majid remains an SNP councillor.

McMafia critics have been itching for the divorce judgment to appear.

Its findings will inevitably lead to calls for Dr Majid and his clique to be punished.