Walker denies he tried to mislead the SFO

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GEORGE WALKER denied that he orchestrated a campaign to mislead Serious Fraud Office investigators examining his property and leisure empire.

The former Brent Walker chief executive told the jury such an accusation was absolute nonsense.

Mr Walker, on the final day of his evidence at Southwark Crown Court, denied he paid a former director pounds 230,000 as a 'success fee' for helping to keep investigators off the track.

The 65-year-old former boxer agreed that in 1990 an initial inquiry into his film division had ended with Brent Walker being given the all clear. It is alleged Mr Walker illegally boosted profits in the division to help attract investment.

But Mr Walker said once he was notified by letter that the SFO investigation had ceased, Brent Walker legal advisers told him 'to get on with running the business'.

Peter Rook, QC, prosecuting, alleged: 'During the two years or so leading up to the letter, you yourself orchestrated a campaign to mislead the SFO and anyone else who cared to investigate what had been going on.'

Mr Walker replied: 'That is absolute nonsense.' Mr Rook continued: 'As part of the cover you misappropriated money to pay off loans.' Mr Walker again retorted: 'Nonsense.'

Counsel alleged that a former Brent Walker director, Donald Anderson, a chartered accountant alleged to be 'a loyal henchman and Mr Fixit', was given the success fee after Mr Walker thought he 'had seen off the SFO'. Mr Walker replied: 'Mr Rook, no,' maintaining the fee was for consultancy work.

The Crown alleges that after bogus income was claimed by Brent Walker, a series of fictional deals needed to be entered into the accounts.

Mr Walker of Fobbing, Essex, and Wilfred Aquilina, of Barnes, London, former finance director of Brent Walker, jointly deny conspiracy to falsify accounts, two charges of false accounting and one charge of theft. Mr Walker also pleads not guilty to three charges of theft and Mr Aquilina further denies an offence of false accounting.

The trial continues today.