Police raid home of Tollgate chief

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The Independent Online
THE Metropolitan Police raided the Belgravia home of Julian Askin, one of the two entrepreneurs behind the Thomson T- Line pools company, last Wednesday as part of the widening fraud inquiry into the collapse of Tollgate Holdings, the South African transport group with a UK listing, writes Jason Nisse.

The Independent on Sunday revealed last week that the South African Office for Serious Economic Affairs (OSEA) sent a team to London to probe the collapse of Tollgate. Among those interviewed were three directors of S G Warburg, the merchant bank that advised Tollgate, and Nicholas Soames, the Minister for Food who was previously a Tollgate non-executive director.

However, the OSEA, which raided Mr Askin's house in Cape Town this year, has no powers to search premises in the UK and there is no extradition treaty between the UK and South Africa. This means there is a UK criminal investigation.

Mr Askin, who with Hugo Biermann built Thomson T- Line into a pounds 180m group when it was taken over by Ladbroke in 1989, took control at Tollgate in 1990. It collapsed last year owing 300m rand ( pounds 62m).