Langbar founder gets six-month sentence

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One of the founders of Langbar International, the company listed on AIM that is at the centre of an £85m fraud investigation, was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday for contempt of court.

Jean-Pierre Regli, who served as finance director of Langbar up until the end of last year, was sentenced to a term at Pentonville prison for failing to comply with the freezing order on his assets served by the High Court in February.

The Swiss businessman and two other founders of Langbar, Mariusz Rybak and Abraham Arad Hochman, are accused by the company of deceit, conspiracy to defraud and breach of fiduciary duties. For this Langbar is seeking damages.

Due to the absence of an extradition treaty between Switzerland and the UK, the company is not expecting the 50-year-old Mr Regli to serve time. It is thought that his sentence will greatly restrict his activities as an international businessman. According to Langbar's 2003 flotation document, Mr Regli is a Swiss citizen who lives in Lugano.

During his 21-year career he has worked for Merrill Lynch and a series of Swiss banks. He holds a PhD in international law, speaks six languages and presently works as a legal adviser to international companies.

A move by Langbar to have the court pass a similar sentence against Mr Arad Hochman was adjourned yesterday for 28 days.