Banker jailed over fortune in backhanders

A MERCHANT banker and a property developer who paid pounds 650,000 in bribes were jailed yesterday for what a judge described as the "unacceptable face of capitalism".

For years, Gordon Skingley, 66, who ran the loans department of the bank Hill Samuel, funnelled pounds 22m to an old business acquaintance, Brian Burrett. The financial favours included large loans that enabled the 60-year-old former solicitor to secure housing sites and develop them profitably while the country was in recession, Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court in London was told.

"Both of your activities could well be described... as the unacceptable face of capitalism," said Judge Derek Inman, as he sent Skingley and Burrett to prison nine months and ordered them to pay pounds 225,000 and pounds 200,00 respectively towards prosecution costs. Such conduct "damaged commercial life" and the "giving and accepting of bribes must not be tolerated in this country," he said.

The judge told Skingley: "For a man of your intelligence and experience of the banking world, it defies all sense of reason that you maintained through your evidence that... the bank had no need to know of these substantial payments. You kept them quiet and I am quite sure you did that because you knew the consequences of disclosure would be very serious."

The judge said that while he had reduced the prison sentence for Skingley because of ill health, he did not think it right for his accomplice to serve a longer term. He added the question of confiscation would be adjourned for six months.

Skingley - whose pounds 350,000 home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, must now be sold to help pay his legal bills - and Burrett, of Wimbish, Essex, were each convicted on four counts of corruption between 1988 and 1992.

Skingley joined Hill Samuel in 1969. In 1988 he became general manager of the bank's corporate loans department and a year later he was appointed a main board director. Burrett entered the building and property industry during the Seventies and by the late Eighties was in a partnership enjoying a turnover of more than pounds 13m.

Tim Barnes QC, for the prosecution, said the banker, who has three children, and the businessman, who has five, had known each other for decades. After Burrett became a Hill Samuel customer, he enjoyed financial support with Skingley's help, with loans of up to pounds 12m which were not backed by any independent certification.

Mr Barnes said the payments the banker received for his help were dressed up as payment for commission, advertising and marketing consultancy. The men's activities came to light in 1995 after Lloyds/TSB, which took over Hill Samuel, contacted the Serious Fraud Office, and a four-year joint investigation with the City of London Police began.

An SFO spokesman said yesterday: "It is a satisfactory outcome... it reinforces the message that the SFO will investigate and where appropriate prosecute offences such as these in the face of all the difficulties that have to be overcome."

Both men have lodged notices of appeal against conviction.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...

KS2 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Expenses: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randstad Educat...

German & French Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week