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£1.4 million in confiscation orders reached in fibre-optic fraud case

7 December, 2018 | News Releases

Yesterday, Stephen Dartnell was ordered by the court to pay more than £450,000 in confiscation within 3 months or face a further 4 years in prison for his part in a fibre optic fraud and bribery scheme targeted at KBC Lease (UK) Ltd and Barclays Bank.

Dartnell’s confiscation order adds to the nearly £950,000 already recovered from his co-conspirators, Simon Mundy, George Alexander, and Carl Cumiskey.

The men were convicted in February 2017 for defrauding two business lenders, KBC Lease (UK) Ltd and Barclays Bank, paying bribes and submitting falsified documents to secure lucrative financing agreements between 2007 and 2010.

Together, the convicted men were sentenced to a total of 56 years (44 to be served consecutively).

SFO Director Lisa Osofsky said:

“These men lied and cheated their way to obtaining millions of pounds, through fabricated contracts and payment of bribes.

“The length of their sentences and weight of these confiscations demonstrates the seriousness of this crime and that justice has been done.”

Through their two companies, H2O Networks and Total Asset Finance the men fabricated fibre optic infrastructure contracts with public authorities to secure lump sum payments from the lenders.

More than 42 fraudulent contracts were drawn up, claiming clients from Local Council Authorities, universities, NHS Trusts and regional police and fire services were purchasing services from H2O Networks and Total Asset Finance, when in reality they were either entirely false or inflated in value by millions of pounds.

With mostly non-existent contracts on their company order sheet, the men instead used the money provided by the banks to pay themselves six-figure salaries, one-off commissions of up to £3m, with lavish personal spending on expensive cars, race horses and properties in Dubai and Mallorca.

Notes to editors:

  1. The jury in the criminal trial reached their verdicts on 7 February 2017 following a five-month trial. They were sentenced on 10 February and received between seven and 15 years in prison. 
  2. The companies involved in the fraud were H2O Networks Ltd and Total Asset Ltd, trading as Total Asset Finance.
  3. The case was accepted for investigation in October 2010. More information on the charges can be found here.
  4. Following hearings at Southwark Crown Court each men received the following orders:
    1. Simon Mundy:  confiscation order of £726,766.03 imposed on 25th May 2018 subsequently varied to £724,091.71. Paid in full on 5th November 2018.
    2. George Alexander: confiscation order of £52,994.69 imposed on 25th May 2018 subsequently varied to £28,274.09. Paid in full on 23rd November 2018.
    3. Carl Cumiskey: confiscation order of £194,343 imposed on 6 April 2018 subsequently increased to £195,212.43. Paid in full on 13th September 2018.
    4. Stephen Dartnell: £454,045.12 imposed on 6 Dec 2018, to be paid in 3 months.
  5. The confiscations orders imposed are based upon the available assets. The variations reflect the value for which those assets were realised.

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