Cohen expected to be made new chief at Baltic

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The Independent Online
JONATHAN Cohen, the former chief executive of County NatWest who was last month acquitted of charges in the Blue Arrow trial, is expected to be appointed chief executive of Baltic, Michael Goddard's leasing group, within the next few weeks.

Mr Cohen, 48, has been in talks with Baltic since his conviction for fraud in connection with the failed Blue Arrow rights issue of 1987 was overturned on appeal.

Mr Cohen, who was deputy chief executive of Charterhouse Bank after leaving County, has worked as a consultant for Baltic.

The leasing company, which has also been involved in corporate finance and property leading, is best known for attempting to put together a rescue package for Tottenham Hotspur before Alan Sugar took control of the football club.

Baltic has confirmed that talks are taking place but Margaret Hughes, a director of the firm, said no decision had been taken.

Mr Cohen was acquitted along with two former County colleagues, David Reed and Nicholas Wells, and a former director of UBS Phillips & Drew, Martin Gibbs, after their lawyers argued that the convictions were unsafe because of the length and complexity of the trial, estimated to have cost taxpayers pounds 40m.

Following the trial, headhunters said that there were only remote prospects of any of the defendants resuming their careers at the level at which they were before the scandal broke.

One senior recruitment consultant said one of the main problems was that opportunities in the City had narrowed.

Stephen Clark, the former finance director of County NatWest who was acquitted mid-way through the trial, is now a consultant with the legal firm Cripps Harries Hall. Charles Villiers, Mr Cohen's boss at County, is corporate development director of Abbey National.

Following the trial, Mr Cohen said that County NatWest made an error of judgement in hiding the real take-up of the Blue Arrow rights issue, but that there was no criminal activity involved.