Acton Driving School Linked To Sale of Lethal Drugs

Driving School owner says he had no idea

BBC Today Programme

Daily Mail

Reprieve UK

The owner of the Acton-based driving school Elgone Academy told that he is very upset about press reports linking his business with that of Dream Pharma, the pharmaceutical company revealed as a supplier of pharmaceutical drugs to the Arizona State Prison to be used on death-row prisoners.

Mr. Mohsen Panah, owner of the driving school located on Horn Lane, reacted with dismay when told of the headline on today's Daily Mail and BBC websites.

"I've been getting phone calls left, right and centre about this.  I don't know anything about drugs," Mr. Panah said.  He claims that he rented the office space to Mehdi Alavi, 50, who owns the company Dream Pharma, which was named by the BBC's Today programme investigation as the supplier to the state of Arizona of three drugs needed for the execution of convicted murder Jeffrey Landrigan.

Mr Alavi declined to give an interview to the BBC, claiming he had "no idea" why Carson McWilliams, the warden of the Arizona State Prison Complex, had ordered the three drugs: the anaesthetics sodium thiopental and pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, which is used in a diluted form to treat people with potassium deficiency.

The news of Mr. Alavi's dealings in the sale of the pharmaceutical drugs was publicised by Reprieve, a lobby group that campaigns for the rights of prisoners.

When told that a photograph of his company headlined the story, Mr. Panah's voice shook as he said he had yet to see the photographs or the story. "'I've been trying to build up this business for 12 years. Dream Pharma is a separate company." He added that he spoke to Mr. Alavi on the phone and expressed his dismay about his driving school being dragged into this.

"I think it's just terrible," Mr. Panah said.

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06 January 2011

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