Mystery millionaire `helped fund London riot'

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The Independent Online
THE CITY of London riots were highly organised and paid for through a central fund using money obtained from suing the police, detectives believe.

Special Branch intelligence claims to have uncovered a carefully orchestrated plan of attack for the riots in June, which caused more than pounds 1m of damage to Europe's financial centre.

Organisers used hired vehicles loaded with missiles to block roads while the ringleaders disguised themselves as businessmen. Money to pay for the protest is believed to have been donated by a millionaire who was one of those arrested during the protests.

Detectives from the City of London police have analysed film taken from 60 hidden cameras and obtained photographs of almost 150 alleged protesters involved in serious violence and disorder. The pictures have been sent to every police force in the country.

Detective Chief Inspector Kieron Sharp, the officer leading Operation Enterprise, claimed: "A lot of funding [for the protests] is from litigation following previous demonstrations where they have sued the police at a later date.

"They usually leave it five years when all the details have gone from the police files. They have had some considerable success. The money goes into a central fund that is used for planning. There are also other people who are prepared to donate money."

Among the private donors is believed to be a man from London who inherited pounds 2.7m and is paid pounds 40,000 a year from a trust fund. The man is currently on police bail and detectives are believed to have seized his computer to look for evidence of links with the June disorder.

The police have paid out tens of thousands of pounds in damages to individuals after a series of public demonstrations, including the 1990 poll-tax riots in central London.

A national police unit has recently been set up at Scotland Yard to provide intelligence about green activists and public demonstrations. About 7,000 protesters attended the Carnival Against Global Capitalism on Friday, 18 June. Twenty-eight police officers and 14 members of the public were injured. The police arrested 29 people on the day and have since arrested a further 14. Twenty-three people have been charged with violent disorder and criminal damage offences.

Analysis of some 5,000 hours of video tape has also found alleged ringleaders dressed in suits to look like City workers. Demonstrators were found to have bought two cars that were abandoned in the middle of the road to cause a blockade, and hired at least two lorries.

Det Chief Insp Sharp said: "There were people orchestrating the violence from a distance. There were a number of people dressed in suits with mobile phones, but they were not City workers, they were organisers. There was one person organising things while standing behind the police lines." Perry Nove, City of London Commissioner, said of the riots: "They reveal a level of sophistication and planning not seen before."

A statement by Reclaim the Streets, one of the groups that organised the protest, read: "The `violence' on the day was ... a spontaneous eruption of dissatisfaction and anger at the ravages of capitalism."

Calling the shots, page 3