Bribes man's son 'had pounds 3.5m account': Convicted MoD official allegedly passed note to cellmate warning son to cover tracks and clear Swiss bank accounts. Ian MacKinnon reports

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN pounds 3.5m passed through a bank account belonging to the son of a Ministry of Defence civil servant convicted of taking bribes from foreign arms companies, a court was told yesterday.

Yet there was no evidence that Paul Foxley, son of the MoD's former chief ammunition buyer Gordon Foxley, had himself paid in any of the money to the Barclays account in Twyford, Hampshire, Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London heard.

The elder Mr Foxley has been convicted of corruptly receiving pounds 1.5m in bribes from three foreign armaments firms. The court heard that after his arrest he sent a note from his cell to his son ordering that secret Swiss bank accounts be cleared and the tracks covered. The court was told that Foxley, 69, passed the note to a cellmate which revealed that police had diaries detailing addresses and bank account numbers and that his son was to 'assume the very worst', and that over an eight-year period a Barclays Bank account in the name of Paul Foxley had received payments of more than pounds 3.57m, even though there was no evidence that he paid in any of the money.

The Crown wants to recover assets belonging to Foxley and his children, including properties, cars and loans of cash, which it says are worth more than pounds 2.4m.

Foxley, of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, was convicted on 12 charges of corruption last November. The offences took place between December 1979 and August 1984 when he was said to have received about 5 per cent of lucrative defence contracts which he saw were awarded to an Italian, German and Norwegian companies. The bribes were channelled into various Swiss bank accounts through three companies that Foxley - who earned just pounds 20,000 a year - owned or controlled, but the corruption did not emerge until 1989, five years after his retirement.

Victor Temple QC, for the Crown, told the court that while under arrest he gave a note to a cellmate named Close, who on release was to hand it to Paul Foxley.

The note said: 'Close accounts, liquidate holdings. Everything possible. Security has my diaries, address books. Home and overseas. Might have (Swiss bank account) numbers. Assume the very worst and totally cover the safer place.'

In 1991 Paul Foxley was jailed for six months after being convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice when he burned documents after police arrived at his office armed with a search warrant.

Yesterday, Mr Temple began proceedings to confiscate the assets of Foxley, who is still on bail, or those which have been given to his children over the years, many of which were said to have been paid for from a Barclays Bank account in the name of Paul Foxley, at Twyford, Hampshire. However, Hamid Iqbal, an investigator at the Crown Prosecution Service's central confiscation unit, told the court he could find no evidence that Paul Foxley was responsible for any of the pounds 3.57m received by the acccount from February 1982 to July 1990. Links, though, were established between a Guernsey bank account of a company called Technical Associates, of which Gordon Foxley was a signatory, and the Twyford account, he said.

Mr Temple argued that Foxley derived benefit from, or had made gifts of, nine properties - including two houses with swimming pools, offices and apartments - which could be confiscated even though he did not actually own them.

Similarly, while his own bank accounts showed he had just pounds 3,000, over the years loans to his children totalled near pounds 90,000.

The hearing continues today.

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