Resort Hotels chief jailed for eight years

Robert Feld, the former managing director of Brighton-based Resort Hotels, was jailed for eight years yesterday after being convicted of making false statements and using forged documents during a pounds 20m rights issue five years ago.

The conviction is an important success for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which fought the case, coming after years of high-profile failures like the Maxwell case.

It is also likely to have repercussions for Coopers & Lybrand, the reporting accountants on Resort's rights issue in 1992. The trial judge, Mr Justice Zucker, said during his summing up at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court that there was evidence of negligence by Coopers.

Feld, 45, was convicted of three offences of making false statements in financial documents and nine offences of using forged documents. Four other fraud offences were ordered to remain on file. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for 10 years.

The verdict brings to an end Feld's luxury life style, which included two properties in East Sussex, one in Knightsbridge, and a fourth in the south of France. He also had a yacht moored at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France during his rapid rise to prominence in the 1980s.

The case was investigated by the SFO with the assistance of a team from the Sussex Police Fraud Squad. The probe centred on the false picture that Feld presented of Resort's financial position in 1992 when he launched the pounds 20m rights issue.

Feld had quickly built the hotel chain up to over 50 properties, largely through rights issues, which cumulatively attracted over pounds 50m from shareholders. He used forged documents to mislead Coopers and merchant bankers Barclays de Zoete Wedd as to the company's expected profits and its level of debt.

The issue was a success but one year later Resort's shares were suspended. Receivers from Ernst & Young were sent in on 1 June 1994, when the company's debts stood at pounds 140m.

Feld was arrested and in December 1994 he was charged with 16 fraud offences. His trial started last November.

Mr Anthony Evans QC, for the prosecution, described Feld as a "hungry" borrower. He told the jury: "Robert Feld was the driving force behind the business.... He was Resort Hotels." Documents were forged by Feld or on his instructions, and shareholders were induced to part with pounds 20.6m.

Feld's story started in Brighton, where his parents were hoteliers. He started working for them in 1972 after dropping out of university and became a partner in the family business four years later.

In 1983 he formed Norfolk Resort Hotel, and bought the family partnership and Preston Continental Hotel (Brighton), a company formed by Feld and his sister in 1980. He raised money from the Business Expansion Scheme (BES).

Feld gained greater access to finance by gaining admission to the Unlisted Securities Market, the precursor to AIM, in 1988, and a full listing later in the 1980s. By that time Feld had changed the company's name to Resort Hotels, and was concentrating on three-star hotels and the business and conference trade.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence