A Tesco delivery driver who staged a series of crash for cash accidents has been ordered to pay his former employer £18,000 in exemplary damages.
Reyhan Safi was found to have been involved in four collisions in the space of three months in a case which unravelled a network of connected repair shops and storage sites in west London.
Her Honour Judge Baucher, in Sayahi & Anor v Tesco Stores Ltd & Anor, said the case stood out due to the ‘wholesale nature of the fraud and the extent of the conspiracy’.
‘This is a fraud and conspiracy of unprecedented scale which engaged this court in five weeks of continuous Tesco litigation involving the consideration and reference to 31 related matters embodied in 60,000 documents’, added the judge. Two other drivers were named in the judgment as having been involved in collisions resulting in claims, with one admitting to staging crashes in five different cases.
The court heard that two individuals had issued proceedings against Tesco in relation to a 2019 collision with a delivery van driven by Safi. The supermarket giant made an interim payment of £34,385 and the claims for personal injury and credit hire were valued at £75,000. But after the particulars of claim were filed, Tesco made a counterclaim, alleging that Safi intentionally drove into Sayahi’s vehicle.
The initial claims were struck out and Part 20 proceedings against Safi continued. Tesco identified a further 12 cases which were linked to this action and 20 cases not yet subject to litigation.
Central London County Court heard that vehicle owners paid an unknown individual who then paid a Tesco employee deliberately to drive their delivery van into the claimant’s vehicle. The judge found that Safi stage managed a crash and lied about the accident circumstances and damage. As a result, the supermarket has had to update all its vehicles with all-round cameras, adding a further loss and aggravating factor.
Tesco sought an award of £15,000 exemplary damages but the judge awarded £18,000 based on the ‘extent of the egregious conduct and the extent of this conspiracy’.
The two initial claimants agreed to reimburse Tesco’s £2,552 costs, refunded the £34,385 payment on account and agreed to pay £15,000 each in exemplary damages.
The judge added that this case and others ‘would not have been brought to light without the diligence and forensic work undertaken by those instructed on behalf of Tesco’, adding: ‘It is to their credit that they have worked tirelessly to ensure all the evidence is put before the court in a comprehensive objective manner.’
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