Controversial property tycoon Nicholas Hoogstraten had a British film crew put under house arrest on a recent trip to Zimbabwe.

He had arranged Press accreditation for the Channel 4 crew in return for assurances they would only report on positive developments in the capital, Harare. He says he later found a film script and diary which showed they would be criticising the country's dictator, Robert Mugabe.

The journalists were confined to a hotel room and threatened with jail but finally managed to fly out of the country last week.

Mr Hoogstraten, who built up a property empire in Brighton and Hove, tried to force the team to sign a statement admitting they had gone back on their agreement Mr Hoogstraten is a long time ally of Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe and owns a vast estate and businesses in the southern African country.

He told the Zimbabwe Independent: "If I had had my way, we would have made a case out of it and put them in prison, because they were here with evil in their hearts."

In 1999, Mr Hoogstraten was implicated in the murder of businessman Mohammed Raja, 62. His conviction for manslaughter was quashed by the Court of Appeal in July 2003. In a civil court action brought by Mr Raja's family, a judge ruled that on the balance of probability, Mr Hoogstraten was involved in the murder.