THE LEADER of a gang that blackmailed an Oxfordshire businessman will appear before the Court of Appeal this week.

Michael Camara, 46, was jailed for 11 years in 2016 after jurors found him guilty of blackmail, possession of an imitation firearm and possessing articles for fraud.

The Londoner forced his Garsington victim to hand over more than £80,000 after he refused to get involved in a ‘black money’ scam.

After his sentencing, Camara was ordered by a judge to pay back £40,500. The Oxford Mail understands his appeal concerns this confiscation order.

The case will be heard at the Court of Appeal in London on Friday.

During the trial, jurors heard how in mid-2012 the victim of the blackmail had been in talks with Camara and another man known as Richard – who claimed to be Colonel Gaddafi's personal bodyguard – about exporting tractors, cement mixers and generators to Libya.

It turned out the pair hoped their victim would hand over thousands of pounds in a ‘black money’ scam – a well-known fraud that sees con artists try to persuade their victim that a pile of paper is actually stolen cash that has been dyed during the theft.

At a meeting between the parties, the two men pulled out a bag full of black paper. They poured liquid on the paper, revealing them to be £50 and £20 notes.

They aimed a gun at the man when he refused to take part in the scam. ‘Richard’ was said to have threatened the businessman’s family if he did not stump up the cash for products to clean the ‘black money’.

The terrified victim borrowed money from friends in order to hand over £35,000 and £46,000. He eventually called the police in June 2012. His family were removed from their home and cameras were installed throughout the property for fear of continued surveillance by the gang.

Judge Peter Ross described Camara as a ‘cunning man’ and the ringleader of an organised gang.

"I have no doubt that at least one if not more who gave evidence on your behalf were part of that gang,” said the judge in 2016.

"You clearly were involved in what has become known as a black money scam.

"This was a very sophisticated, well-oiled criminal scheme."

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