A serial online blackmailer targeted nearly 2,000 victims to amass images of degrading sexual acts and then sold “box sets” of abuse to other paedophiles, a court has heard.
Abdul Elahi (26) has admitted 158 charges committed against 72 complainants and is believed to have tried to exploit victims in 34 countries.
At Birmingham Crown Court, Elahi was described as being “in a league of his own” in terms of the scale of his offending, “juggling” many tens of potential victims at any one time while posing as a wealthy stockbroker offering financial assistance.
“The whole persona, the whole arrangement, was a sham from the very beginning,” Adrian Langdale QC, prosecuting, told the court.
“He simply, it would appear, saw his victims as a way of making money. Victims were targeted day after day, with no let-up from Mr Elahi.”
The court heard how some women and young girls were blackmailed into abusing a baby or a sibling by Elahi, who had offered to pay off debts with Bitcoin.
Mr Langdale said the offending spanned 2017 to 2019, with many of the offences committed while Elahi was on bail.
Elahi also “acted as a mentor” to other online abusers with “copy-cat” offenders targeting some of his victims, the court heard. Mr Langdale told the court: “We maintain that Mr Elahi is an exceptionally dangerous predator.”
The so-called box sets of abusive images and videos compiled by Elahi were distributed widely, the court heard, after girls and young adults were blackmailed into providing humiliating and degrading sexual material.
Around 550 females in Britain are believed to have been targeted by Elahi, with almost 2,000 identified altogether in the UK and US.
Mr Langdale said: “Sixty- seven-thousand indecent im- ages of children have been recovered from numerous devices and cloud storage for Elahi.
“There is evidence that he carefully structured and logged all of his material.
“He sold that material on with a clear financial motive irrespective of the damage that he was causing by spreading this material.”
Among those targeted on so-called sugar daddy websites were financially desperate victims, including mothers at risk of losing their homes or struggling to feed their children, the court heard.
Elahi, formerly of Sparkhill, Birmingham, admitted a host of charges at previous hearings and is expected to be sentenced this week.