MEL STEIN, the high-profile agent who represents the England football star Paul Gascoigne, has been accused of assisting Carlos Miro, the insurance fraudster.
The liquidator of Anglo- American, the failed US insurance company founded by Mr Miro, alleges in a High Court writ that Mr Stein gave a 'comprehensive service' to Mr Miro.
The Louisiana-based insurer went into liquidation in March 1989. Mr Stein and co-defendants in the High Court case are being sued for dollars 4.5m.
Mr Stein, a solicitor, used his own firm, Stein Swede Jay & Bibring, to help Mr Miro, it is claimed. The 'service' allegedly included making arrangements for the transfer of funds to a 'complex web' of corporate and trust vehicles 'controlled and operated by or on behalf of Miro'.
Mr Stein's firm later merged with Finers. Also named in the writ are Finers partners: Peter Jay, David Swede, Michael Bibring, Richard Gerstein and Roger Levitt. No trial date has yet been set.
The writ alleges that Stein Swede Jay & Bibring allowed Mr Miro to dispose of the proceeds of fraud through the law firm's client account.
The writ contains details of payments totalling dollars 3.6m ( pounds 2.3m) in 1987 and 1988 from Anglo-American to Anglo- American Trust, a UK company, and to Anglo-American International Reinsurance in Ireland.
It claims that Messrs Stein, Jay and Swede were directors of Anglo-American Trust, while Mr Stein was a director of Anglo-American International.
Mr Miro, awaiting trial in New Orleans, has pleaded guilty to 16 counts of fraud arising from his operation of Anglo-American.
As part of his plea bargain, he has agreed to co-operate with the liquidator by providing detailed information about his financial dealings.
Mr Miro featured prominently in a February 1990 congressional report on US insurance insolvencies.
The report said that dollars 20.8m was improperly removed from Anglo-American Insurance through misuse of expense accounts, fraudulent reinsurance and fake transactions.
Karen Pollack of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, acting on behalf of Finers, said: 'Finers and Mr Stein emphatically deny any liability. The claim is to be vigorously defended.'
On 13 December we reported the High Court case brought by the liquidator of Anglo American, the US insurance company, against Mr Melvyn Stein for allegedly assisting, through his firm's client account, Mr Miro, the alleged insurance fraudster. We stated that Mr Jay and Mr Swede, partners in Finers, were directors of Anglo American Trust.
We have been asked to make clear that Mr Jay and Mr Swede had ceased to be directors of Anglo American Trust before the first payment to that company complained of in the writ was made.
We have also been asked to make clear that the writ makes no allegation of personal impropriety against any partner in the firm of Finers other than Mr Stein. The allegations against him are strenuously denied by Mr Stein and Finers and relate solely to the movement of funds through his firm's client account on the specific instructions of Mr Miro. There is no suggestion of personal gain by Mr Stein or his firm.
We are also asked to make clear that in June 1990, months before proceedings were issued, Finers sought directions from the High Court and obtained an order entitling them to freeze assets of Mr Miro under their control.
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