Three are sent to prison for defrauding Swiss bank of $22m

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The Independent Online

Three conspirators, including the former owner of the no-win, no-fee firm Claims Direct and an ex-partner at the top-drawer law firm Mischon de Reya, have been jailed for defrauding a Swiss bank.

The trio defrauded the Swiss bank EFG Private Bank of Zurich of $22m in 2008 by making a loan application supported by fake letters claiming that more £76m was held on deposit at Bank Julius Baer in Guernsey. The money was to be used to fund a Turkish resort where footballers including Wayne Rooney, pictured, had bought villas.

Kevin Steele, who was a partner at Mischon de Reya in 2008 and was also on the board of Queens Park Rangers, was found guilty of forgery and fraud in December and was sentenced yesterday to five years and six months. Michael Shepherd, a former client of Steele, was sentenced to six years and three months and banned from acting as a director for 15 years. He, like his associate Mark Pattison, who has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, had pleaded guilty ahead of the trial.