Private prosecution success over fraudster

A former car dealer has been jailed for eight years for a multi-million pound investment fraud – even though the Crown Prosecution Service had refused to charge him, BBC News has learned.

Paul Sultana was convicted after the company he had defrauded brought a private prosecution – criminal proceedings which are not initiated by the state.

It’s thought to be the largest fraud in Britain to be successfully prosecuted privately.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would seek to “learn lessons” from the case.

Sultana, 51, was part of a team of fraudsters which persuaded the off-shore engineering company Allseas to give them £88m (100m euros) to invest by promising extremely high rates of return.

On Monday he was found guilty at a re-trial of conspiracy to commit fraud.

The proceedings were brought by Allseas after the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

The firm carried out its own inquiries and used material provided by the police and information from a civil court case, successfully brought against Sultana.

Edward Heerema, president of Allseas Group, said: “We felt it was in the public interest for us to pursue the case against Mr Sultana to protect other potential victims by ensuring that he is not free to repeat his crime.

Today’s conviction vindicates our decision to pursue this case, and sends a strong message to fraudsters that there are effective routes for justice to be served.”

Alison Levitt QC, from the law firm Mishcon de Reya, which acted for Allseas, said: “This case highlights the important role that private prosecutions can play in bringing a fraudster to justice.”

Read the full article on the BBC News website here.

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