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Celtic Energy Ltd

The SFO brought charges in January 2013 against six people, including two former Directors of Celtic Energy Ltd. The SFO alleged they conspired to defraud Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Bridgend County Borough Council, Powys County Council and The Coal Authority by deliberately prejudicing their ability effectively to enforce obligations to restore open cast mining sites to open countryside and/or for agricultural use. The sites are known as East Pit, Nant Helen (Nant Gyrlais), Selar and Margam (Park Slip and Kenfig). The sites were operated by Celtic Energy Limited of Caerphilly. The alleged conspiracy involved the establishment of companies in the British Virgin Islands in the ultimate beneficial ownership of Eric Evans and David Alan Whiteley and that the freehold title in the four sites was intended to transfer from Celtic Energy to the BVI companies, thus releasing provisions made in Celtic Energy’s annual accounts in respect of financial liability to restore the sites and that this was done for the benefit of the conspirators. Mr Justice Hickinbottom dismissed the charges in February 2014 after successful applications by the defendants, who argued that the Public Authorities and the Coal Authority have no duties, rights, or obligations that are capable of being prejudiced by the scheme operated by the defendants. The SFO applied to the High Court for a voluntary bill of indictment which was refused by Lord Justice Fulford on the basis that neither the interests of justice nor the exceptional circumstances tests were made out. This brought the prosecution to an end.

Page published on 3 Mar 2015 | Page modified on 15 Feb 2021