A reeling Lutfur Rahman is considering appealing against a "shock" court ruling that has unseated him as Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Britain's first Muslim directly elected mayor reacted quickly to the judgement, as Tower Hamlets council confirmed to IBTimes UK he had already been stripped of his chain of office on Thursday afternoon (23 April).
In an excoriating verdict, the former independent mayor and a number of his agents were found guilty of election fraud by the election commissioner.
Rahman played the racism and Islamophobia cards against political opponents and his role in intimidation of voters at polling stations had tainted last year's local election, said Justice Richard Mawray.
Rahman harnessed the Bangladeshi community in the deprived inner London borough to wield power, creating what Mawray called: "An alarming state of affairs; the result of the ruthless ambition of one man."
Divisive divide-and rule tactics employed by Rahman drove a wedge between the Bangladeshi community and others in the borough.
Rahman's election victory in 2014 was declared void, meaning a re-run will take place on a date yet to be confirmed, a spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said.
Former Labour party member Rahman denied the allegations. Speaking in a statement following the verdict at the Royal Courts of Justice, a spokesman said: "Today's judgement has come as a shock.
"The Mayor strongly denies any wrongdoing and had full confidence in the justice system, and so this result has been surprising to say the least.
"We are seeking further legal advice on the matter in relation to a judicial review."
Rahman was ordered to pay £250,000 towards the cost of the court case, which cost a total of around £1m.