A businessman who claimed benefits for bogus asylum seekers through his Oxford housing empire has been ordered to pay back about £1.8m.

Mohammed Faruq, 57, is serving a four-year prison sentence for his part in an immigration and benefits scam.

Today, a judge ordered Faruq, formerly of Whitson Place, in East Oxford, to repay at least £1.8m of his ill-gotten gains.

Faruq was jailed in April last year for bringing members of his family into the country and registering them as asylum seekers, who claimed benefits through some of his houses in the city.

Judge Bruce McIntyre, sitting at Reading Crown Court, made a confiscation order for £652,285 and compensation order of £734,982.

Faruq must also pay prosecution costs estimated to be almost £500,000.

The repayments will be shared between Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, National Asylum Service and Job Centre Plus.

Carol Quainton, investigations manager at the city council, said: "We're pleased with this figure, as it shows that benefit fraud doesn't pay and we will take action against people who commit this crime."

Faruq must pay the confiscation order by the end of the year or face an extra four years in prison.

His first wife Khurshid Faruq, 49, who court records show lives at Whitson Place, must pay a £18,924 confiscation order within six weeks, otherwise she will be jailed for up to nine months.

Andy Couldrick, head of the asylum seeker team at the county council, said: "We're pleased justice has been done and that money owing has been recovered.

"At this stage, we don't know exactly how much money we will receive. It will become clear in due course exactly how the recovered sums will be used to compensate the organisations that are owed money."

Faruq and 10 of his relatives were convicted of conspiracy, fraud and immigration offences in 2005. Five other relatives admitted their part in the frauds last year and all 15 were sentenced in April last year.

The trial heard Faruq brought relatives into the country and helped them claim asylum, registering them under different names, then claimed benefits and housing allowances.

Faruq is believed to have assets of between £24m and £25m, the trial heard.

Under the guise of Mair Property Services, he housed his relatives and charged the county council £365 per night per room for "emergency asylum" accommodation.