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INSIDE THE LAIR OF THE COKE KING; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: John Ferguson; Donna Watson

JAILED cocaine kingpin Sohaib Qureshi is desperately trying to offload the bungalow that was the HQ of his empire.

Qureshi, 34, who is beginning a 12-year jail term, bought the spacious home in upmarket Bearsden, near Glasgow, for pounds 475,050 in 2005.

Last year, as he awaited trial, he hoped to sell the house at a profit by putting it on the market for offers over pounds 575,000.

But the drug lord - who masterminded the smuggling of highpurity cocaine from Colombia and the Dominican Republic - has been forced to slash the price after it failed to sell.

It is now on offer for pounds 475,000 - less than he paid. And when it does sell, the cash is likely to be seized under proceeds of crime laws.

A Crown Office spokesman said last night: "We can confirm Qureshi is the subject of proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

"As proceedings are active, it would not be appropriate to comment further."

The bungalow features four bedrooms, two with en-suite bathrooms, a dressing room, a granny flat and a games room.

Despite his massive wealth, the decor is drab and outdated. Gaudy ornaments adorn the spaces, possibly gathered from Qureshi's smuggling contacts in Colombia and the Caribbean.

A trampoline sits in the huge garden, while a pretty pink bedroom is filled with dolls and another room is decorated in blue with toy dinosaurs.

The Record revealed yesterday how Qureshi was snared in an operation led by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. Operation Klaxon also led to the jailing of two drug couriers in Scotland and two in the Caribbean.

And two Colombians linked to the Klaxon gang were arrested after Scots cops passed on intelligence to police in Bogota.

But the SCDEA's main target was Qureshi, who owns a number of residential properties and is a former director of Chillies West End, a popular restaurant on Woodlands Road, Glasgow.

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SPACIOUS: The exterior of the bungalow
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 1, 2011
Words:336
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