‘Fake Sheikh’ charged with ‘misleading the court’ during Tulisa drug trial

Former 'X-Factor' judge was arrested on drugs charges before the trial collapsed

Mazher Mahmood, the former undercover reporter dubbed the “fake sheikh”, has been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice over the failed trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos.

Former X Factor judge Contostavlos was involved in a sting conducted by Mahmood in 2013 which led to her being arrested on drugs charges.

The subsequent trial collapsed in court last year after the reporter was accused of lying at a pre-trial hearing.

The pop star, who was accused of brokering a £800 cocaine deal, walked free, as did her co-defendant Michael Coombs, 36, who had previously pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine.

It is now alleged that Mahmood “misled the court” during the drugs trial, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

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Nick Vamos of the CPS said: “After carefully considering all of the evidence the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge both men.

“This decision comes after it was alleged that Mr Smith agreed with Mr Mahmood to change his statement to police as part of a trial in July 2014, and that Mr Mahmood then misled the court.”

Mahmood has since issued a statement saying that he denies the charge and will “vigorously contest it at court”.

Mahmood and his driver, Alan Smith, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 30 October.

Contostavlos, meanwhile, was recently arrested on suspicion of drink-driving. The singer was arrested in Southgate, north London earlier this month (September 10) after being breathalysed following a crash.