Hiding behind a facade of overseas wealth, Wallace Smith siphoned huge amounts from his City operation, said Timothy Barnes QC, prosecuting at the Old Bailey. Fellow directors and others working from the London Wall headquarters of Wallace Smith Trust had no idea what their Canadian-born boss was up to, counsel added.
By the time Mr Smith, 59, was arrested in April 1991 his dishonesty and repeated breaches of trust had cost banks and financial institutions millions.
Mr Smith, of West Tisted, Hampshire, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of fraudulent trading, two of false accounting, two of obtaining property by deception and three of theft. The jury heard that the deception charges involved more than dollars 37m, while the thefts concerned four pounds 1m certificates of deposit. Mr Barnes said the company was wound up after Mr Smith's arrest.
The trial was adjourned until today.