Maxwell jury retires to consider verdicts

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The Independent Online
The jury in the Maxwell trial retired to consider its verdicts yesterday after sitting through 121 days of evidence from more than 70 witnesses.

The seven women and five men have a mass of evidence to examine before delivering their verdicts on the charges against Kevin and Ian Maxwell - the sons of the late media magnate Robert Maxwell - and former Maxwell financial adviser Larry Trachtenberg.

The jury resume their deliberations today and have now - in the words of the trial judge, Lord Justice Phillips - to decide "where the truth lies".

Alan Suckling QC, leading the prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office, has alleged that the three deliberately and dishonestly misused pounds 22m of shares in an Israeli company, Teva, which belonged to pension funds. They were pledged for a loan after Maxwell's death in 1991 in an attempt to prop up his crumbling empire.

The three deny conspiracy to defraud the pension funds.Kevin, alone, denies a charge of conspiring with his father to defraud the pension funds by misusing pounds 100m of shares in another Israeli company, Scitex.

Robert Bunn, a former Maxwell accountant, was accused with the other three of the Teva charge but was dropped from the case after suffering heart problems. The SFO still has to announce whether it will reopen the prosecution against him. The judge has told the jury that they must be sure before they convict.