A TOWN mayor, who appeared in a film in which a local man claims an authority seized his assets based on the colour of his skin following an investigation, has denied knowledge of what the recording would be used for.

Councillor Mazamal “Maz” Hussain said he was “not made aware” his recorded account of Wycombe man,  Carlos Layne, would be used in a short film in which the latter alleges he was the target of “racism” by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) 15 years ago.

It is also understood the current mayor of High Wycombe had no permission to wear his mayoral chain in the production.

READ MORE: Calls for rule-breaking mayor to be ‘severely reprimanded’ – or resign

In the more than nine-minute film, titled Misunderstood: The Story of Carlos Layne, mayor Hussain speaks about Mr Layne’s voluntary work with the Caribbean Peoples Foundation (CPF).

Bucks Free Press:

And while in the film Mr Layne also focuses on his charity work, he devotes a significant portion to recounting a 2005 investigation in which the now defunct ARA froze “everything” he owned to scrutinise his sources of income.

Assets belonging to Mr Layne totalling £350,000 were frozen in 2005, “as a result of unlawful conduct linked to drug dealing, money laundering, and handling stolen cars”, according to ARA spokesperson at the time, Julie Davis.

Two years later Mr Layne was ordered by the High Court to hand over to the ARA £100,940 having been accused of being involved in a car ringing network.

Although several of his associates were charged, there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr Layne with any offence, according to reports at the time.

Bucks Free Press:

In the film he claims the then “constant harassment” by the ARA, which made him feel “like a criminal”, is because he is Black.

He goes on to say he would “like to sue the relevant authorities”.

“I would say it is definitely due to the colour of my skin,” said Mr Layne.

“It makes you think that because of the amount of money you’re earning, there’s a glass ceiling as a Black man that you get to – then you’re brought back down.

Bucks Free Press:

“I felt angry, I still feel angry. The fact the system can come and the whole thing was abused, it was an abuse of power and it’s because you’re Black, because you’ve excelled and done better than a lot.”

He added: “While we’ve got this systemic racism within our workplaces we have to work double as hard as Black people.

“Racism should not see no colour when it comes to careers or success.”

READ MORE: Mayor snapped breaking Covid rules in West Midlands – five councillors apologise

Wearing his mayoral chain seated in an office, Cllr Hussain said in the video: “I’ve known Carlos, and I’ve been working with him and the CPF team, for many years.

“We have been doing a lot of local projects with the hospital, the children’s wards, and also throughout the difficult time of the coronavirus delivering a lot of food to care homes, frontline keyworkers at hospitals and people less fortunate than us.

“We’ve been helping the local community for many years and Carlos has been part of that and has been doing a lot of charity work.”

Bucks Free Press:

When asked if he supported Mr Layne’s claim against the ARA, Cllr Hussain said: “I was asked by Mr Layne to record a short video about him and his voluntary work as part of the Caribbean Peoples Foundation.

“I was told the video was being made for promotional purposes to advertise the work of CPF and would be sent to other churches and organisations.

“I was not made aware that my recording was going to be included within a further video titled ‘Misunderstood’ and I understand, from Mr Layne, that this was a decision he made himself at a later date. Had my permission been sought, I would not have given it.”

Speaking to the Free Press, Mr Layne said: “Maz has got nothing to do with this claim.”

The ARA ceased to exist in 2008 when it became a part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which then turned in to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

A spokesperson for the NCA said: "The ARA pursued civil recovery cases on the basis of objective criteria, and presented evidence to the High Court who determined whether the property was obtained by or in return for unlawful conduct."