Resort Hotels boss in court

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Shareholders of the mainly three-star Resort Hotels group were "misled" into parting with pounds 20.6m because of the forgeries and false statements by Robert Feld, the company's chief executive, a jury heard yesterday.

"Within about two years the company was in receivership and the shares were valueless," said Mr Anthony Evans QC, prosecuting at Middlesex Crown Court.

Mr Feld, 43, of Aubrey House, The Green, Rottingdean, East Sussex, denies three charges of making misleading statements to shareholders and 13 of using false instruments in 1992.

Mr Feld went into the family business, which ran the Norfolk Hotel on Brighton's seafront, after leaving university. He later formed Norfolk Resort Hotels, which acquired the business and assets of the family partnership and of another business he and his sister had started in 1980, the court heard.

He changed the company's name to Resort Hotels in 1985 and the business was quickly expanded, partly by managing hotels for other companies in return for a fee. The group went public in 1988 and continued its expansion programme with the help of millions of pounds raised by substantial bank loans, the issue of debenture loan stock and by rights issues.

Eventually it had 55 properties, 3,000 hotel rooms and employed 600 staff.

"Robert Feld was the driving force behind the business," said Mr Evans. "He was Resort Hotels."

The lies and forgeries he allegedly told were in respect of a pounds 20.6m rights issue in 1992. Shareholders were induced to part with pounds 20.6m, Mr Evans said .

The rights was the fourth in as many years. Including the issue of some debentures in 1991, the company raised in excess of pounds 50m.

The hearing was adjourned until today.