Lord Moyne speaks: dodgy deals went on that was I thought it was all her

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Lord Moyne, chairman of Swedish investment company Trustor, disclosed this weekend that he plans to duck Wednesday's emergency shareholders meeting in Stockholm as investigations continue into possible fraud at the company.

"I shall send a proxy to the meeting," said Lord Moyne, speaking from Ireland in his first long interview since allegations of missing Trustor money surfaced.

But the 67-year old peer, Jonathan Guinness of the brewing dynasty, said he planned to return to England tomorrow within the jurisdiction of the Serious Fraud Office, which is anxious to talk to him.

"I shall be talking to investigators eventually," said Lord Moyne. "A great deal that was dodgy went on, but I found out about it far too late."

Lord Moyne, who said "Trustor shareholders are not going to lose their cash", blamed his Swedish business associates for the problems at Trustor, which has been under investigation since the equivalent of pounds 48m allegedly went missing from Sweden.

"I did sign pretty well all the documents they used to give me, because I thought they were above board and kosher," he said.

Trustor is claiming ownership of a disputed pounds 33m - more than two thirds of the total - which is lodged in an account at the Luxembourg branch of F van Lanschot, a Dutch private bank.

A Luxembourg judge will decide tomorrow whether this deposit belongs to Trustor or whether it may result from an elaborate "window dressing" operation, in which the money was designed to stay in the account just long enough to fool Trustor's auditors that the funds were intact before rapidly being moved elsewhere.

Lord Moyne took control of 52 per cent of Trustor in May, but he maintains he was in effect a nominee. "The stake was purchased with money that was not mine and held in the name of a company called Lord Moyne AB," he said.

Two of his associates, Peter Mattsson and Thomas Jisander, were recently arrested in Stockholm. Mr Jisander's cousin, Joachim Posener, also known as Joe Falk, is being sought by investigators to explain the circumstances in which he at one stage received $500,000 (pounds 300,000) from a Trustor account. Lord Moyne says he thinks Mr Posener may have helped organise the original purchase of the controlling Trustor stake.

Lord Moyne admitted that some Trustor money went from Barclays Bank in London into an account in his name. "It did but it went out again," said the peer.

He also admitted that he in effect sold the use of his family name in the hope of securing "the opportunity of a second business career".

"We had a bargain in which they were going to remunerate me," he said. "But as well as paying me a fee there was the opportunity to do some legitimate business deals together."

Lord Moyne admitted that he and Lindsay Smallbone, a business colleague and until recently Trustor chief executive, authorised the transfer of Trustor money to a Barclays account in London.

"There was no reason morally or legally why an investment company shouldn't move its money around to do deals," said Lord Moyne. "But when it went out of Trustor's name, that was wrong."

Nearly pounds 11m has been located by Swedish state prosecutor Bo Skarinder. A further amount appears to have gone to an account held by Introcom International, a Gibraltar-registered company. "There is a legitimate Gibraltar deal involving a hotel," Lord Moyne maintained this weekend.

The bulk of the money is subject to the current Luxembourg court case. Francois Kramer, a Luxembourg lawyer for International Trade And Credit Bank (ITC) of the Cayman Islands, says the 417 million Swedish kroner deposit "is not the money that came from Barclays in London" and does not belong to Trustor.

Mr Kremer said Lord Moyne arranged to borrow the money from ITC for two days earlier this month and deposited the money in a Trustor account to repay an earlier loan from Trustor.

The peer was then, according to Mr Kremer, to complete a circular transaction, in which the money never left van Lanschot, by selling some shares to re

pay ITC. ITC, whose ownership Mr Kremer will not disclose, was never repaid and wants the Luxembourg court to block the return of the money to Sweden. "It now looks like a piece of window dressing," said Mr Kremer. "If money was missing there was a good reason to have a statement of account showing that money had appeared."

Lord Moyne agreed that the deal looked like an accounting exercise but said he personally had no contact with ITC.

Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg