An apt stable for a guilty trader

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The Independent Online
WHEN Allan Leonard stands before an Old Bailey judge next month to hear his sentence on fraud and theft charges, the former grain trader will know what to expect. After all, it could be predicted from the names of the racehorses he used to own.

Leonard, who last month pleaded guilty to 15 charges of fraud, theft and false accounting related to the cover-up of a pounds 30m derivatives loss at his trading company, Muirpace, was until quite recently a leading racehorse owner.

He was a partner in a company called Enterprise Bloodstock, which was put into liquidation last April. Other investors in the company were Richard Thompson, the former QPR chairman whose family interests lost more than pounds 28m in the Muirpace scandal, and Michael Charlton, a Monaco-based lawyer.

Leonard, either directly or though Enterprise, had interests in some quite famous racehorses. One, Top Cees, won a number of prominent races over hurdles and on the flat, and was sold by Leonard to a partnership of Robert Sangster, the leading bloodstock owner, and Mr Charlton.

Others had names on which Leonard might now reflect. There was Exit To Rio, which was a stablemate of No Extradition. These two rubbed fetlocks with Creative Account and Mock Trial.

Leonard's lawyer, Stephen Pollard of Kingsley Napley, says that although he knew Leonard was part of a syndicate that "owned and traded bloodstock and racehorses", he was not aware of the particularly apposite names of the horses.

Leonard is currently on bail awaiting sentencing. This was due to take place this week, but has now been postponed until next month and will take place at the Old Bailey.

Leonard's decision to plead guilty ended a two-year investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. However, there is speculation that civil litigation may follow from the main investors in Muirpace, the Thompson family and Rathbones, the finance group. The targets of the litigation could include KPMG, auditors to Muirpace.