Ex-MP in deal for Moyne shares

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The Independent Online
TWO members of the original founding families of Barclays Bank and a former Tory MP were involved in the purchase of a disputed controlling stake in Swedish company Trustor from Lord Moyne.

Trustor has been mired in scandal. The Swedish police, aided by the Serious Fraud Office, are investigating allegations of missing company money when Trustor was run by Lord Moyne, the former Jonathan Guinness of the brewing dynasty, and Swedish business associates, including Peter Mattsson.

Mr Mattsson, released from custody in Stockholm just before Christmas, has quite separate links with a third member of one of the founding Barclays families.

Lord Moyne, 67, moved into Trustor in June taking a 52 per cent voting stake costing around pounds 20m.

Shortly afterwards, he was involved in moving pounds 48m of Trustor's funds from Stockholm to a Barclays bank account in the City of London, though most of the money then moved on once again. About pounds 32m is currently the subject of a legal row over ownership in Luxembourg.

Last month, the Swedish courts responded to requests from minority shareholders by sequestering the shareholding and ordering that Trustor be liquidated. The move to wind up the company is being appealed by St Crispin Trading, an offshore company whose investors include Roland Buxton, Anthony Gurney and Henry Bellingham, who until the last election was MP for Norfolk North West.

The Buxton, Gurney and Barclay families are all inter-related. Roland Buxton is a distant cousin of Andrew Buxton, the current chairman of Barclays.

St Crispin says it bought Lord Moyne's 52 per cent stake back in October, although Lord Moyne kept quiet about the deal for weeks. He said that Lindsay Smallbone, a close business associate and former Trustor chief executive, introduced the new investors.

The Swedes allege that Lord Moyne's original purchase was, as Mr Bellingham put it, "improperly carried out with Trustor's own funds", thus negating the later St Crispin purchase. "Nobody here takes the St Crispin investment very seriously," said Bjorn Bjornsson, the liquidator of Trustor.

Asked whether Trustor's own money was used to fund the original deal, Lord Moyne said: "I think in a roundabout way that was probably the case."

But he claimed he was merely a front man and blamed his Swedish associates - notably Joachim Posener, also known as Joe Falk - for "setting the whole thing up". Lord Moyne added: "Clearly fraud was involved."

Posener, a convicted fraudster, is on the run from the Swedish authorities and is rumoured to be in Israel. The Serious Fraud Office, which has been helping the Swedes track down Trustor money, believes that Posener received over pounds 700,000 of it.

Mr Bellingham, who declined to identify the directors of St Crispin, said the company bought the stake in good faith and had been trying to establish good title. Lord Moyne said St Crispin had not yet paid for the shares but added: "I'm confident it will."

Mr Bellingham said: "St Crispin has paid for the shares as far as I am aware."

Asked what would happen if St Crispin failed to establish title, Mr Bellingham responded: "As with lots of investment companies, some investments do well and some do badly."

Asked why the offshore company would want to buy Trustor shares, the 42-year old former MP replied that it was an opportunistic investment. "Sometimes it might be a good time to buy shares in a company subject to a scandal."

Meanwhile it separately emerged that Simon Gurney, a 32-year-old nephew of Anthony Gurney, is a business colleague of Mr Mattsson. Simon Gurney is managing director and a major shareholder of Net Communications, an Internet service provider which the 31-year old Mr Mattsson set up in Norwich in 1995.

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