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Four found guilty in £160m financing fraud

7 February, 2017 | News Releases

Four individuals were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court today for conspiracy to make corrupt payments and conspiracy to commit fraud against two business lenders, Barclays Bank and KBC Lease (UK) Limited (“KBC”), a subsidiary of Belgian banking group KBC, in order to obtain almost £160m.

Stephen Dartnell and George Alexander of Total Asset Limited trading as Total Asset Finance (“TAF”), Carl Cumiskey of H2O Networks Limited (“H2O”) and Simon Mundy who worked for KBC were found guilty. Kerry Lloyd of TAF and Elfed Thomas of H2O were both acquitted.

The jury were told by counsel for the SFO that there was no dispute that fraud on a massive scale had occurred, but the defendants denied involvement and, in the main, blamed each other.

Dartnell, Alexander and Cumiskey had conspired to create, sign and sell falsely inflated or entirely false contracts from the company H2O to business lenders, Barclays Bank and KBC.

H2O supplied fibre-optic internet cable connections and their unique selling point was to use sewers as channels for these internet cables. H2O targeted public institutions such as local authorities, universities, colleges and the NHS with long-term payment contracts.

Mundy was paid nearly £900,000 as an “inside man” at KBC by Dartnell to approve the funding provided by KBC to TAF.

Between 2007 and 2010 this fraud amounted to almost £160m.

Director of the SFO, David Green CB QC said:

“This was a carefully planned, complex and lucrative fraud which ran over three years. It took a determined investigation to ensure that those responsible for it were brought to justice. We will now turn our attention to securing confiscation of criminal assets from those convicted”.

George Alexander – Guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation,

Stephen Dartnell – Guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, One count of conspiracy to give corrupt payments,

Kerry Lloyd – Not guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, Not guilty on one count of conspiracy to give corrupt payments,

Simon Mundy – Guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and one count of conspiracy to give corrupt payments

Carl Cumiskey – Guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud majority 10-2 on both counts.

Elfed Thomas – Not guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit fraud

Notes for editors:

  1. The jury reached their verdicts on 07/02/2017
  2. The individuals first appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on 9 January 2015 and the trial began on 5 September 2016 at Southwark Crown Court. The trial has lasted 5 months and 2 weeks.
  3. The case was accepted for investigation in October 2010. For more information on the charges see SFO news release here.
  4. A sentencing hearing will take place this Friday 10th Feb at 10am at Southwark Crown Court. Confiscation proceedings are likely to be adjourned.  
  5. The SFO was represented in court by:

David Aaronberg QC, New Bridge Street Chambers

Gareth Patterson of 6 KBW College Hill and Michael Bisgrove of 6 KBW College Hill

 

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