George Walker denies wife forged his signature: Former chairman says deals were made without authority

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The Independent Online
GEORGE WALKER denied that his wife had forged his signature on vital papers for the property to leisure empire. He told a jury yesterday at Southwark Crown Court that his wife, Jean, would not dream of writing his name on such documents.

Peter Rook, QC, prosecuting for the Serious Fraud Office, alleged that bogus transactions in Brent Walker's film division were used to inflate profits and attract investment to fund the company's spectacular growth.

It is claimed that Mr Walker, and the company's former finance director, Wilfred Aquilina, were behind a systematic cover-up including the creation of fake documents.

However, Mr Walker, the former Brent Walker chairman and chief executive, insisted that a series of banking deals were made without his authority.

Mr Walker, 65, claimed that his signature had been forged on certain papers. He said he would 'stand up and be counted' for anything he put his name to.

When it was alleged a particular transaction had been authorised by his wife - a former Brent Walker director - he said: 'She would not dream of doing such a thing.'

He added that if it was a forgery she would have made it better. 'It is not my wife trying to copy mine . . . If she had tried to copy my signature she would have made a 100 times better job of it than that.'

Earlier Mr Rook suggested that Mr Walker's refusal to accept that he had personally negotiated transactions contradicted evidence he had already given.

Referring specifically to a pounds 4m bank loan, Mr Rook said: 'You told us last week . . . that you had negotiated it.'

Mr Walker responded: 'That is crazy . . . I cannot believe I said that because it doesn't make sense.'

He added: 'I know this looks confusing and that this looks bad for me. I was never involved in that deal. If I said this, it is a mistake. I did not mean that.'

Mr Walker, of High Road, Fobbing, Essex, and Mr Aquilina, 42, of Suffolk Road, Barnes, south-west London, jointly deny conspiracy to falsify documents.

Mr Walker and Mr Aquilina also plead not guilty to two offences of false accounting and one charge of theft.

Mr Walker further denies three offences of theft, while Mr Aquilina denies another offence of fale accounting. The trial continues today.