Brink's-Mat bullion launderers guilty

TWO MEN were convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday of laundering pounds 14m of the proceeds from the pounds 26m Brink's- Mat bullion robbery.

After six days of deliberation, the jury found Gordon Parry, 48, of Westerham, Kent, a property developer, guilty on 10 counts of handling stolen goods. Patrick Clark, 53, a former scrap- metal dealer and nightclub owner of Chingford, Essex, was found guilty of conspiring to handle stolen goods. Both had denied the charges.

The jury acquitted Clark's son, Stephen, 26, a restaurateur, of conspiring to handle stolen goods from the 1983 robbery. He was immediately released by Judge Henry Pownall.

Before the jury could return verdicts on the remaining two defendants, the seven-month trial was adjourned until Monday because a juror's son had been badly hurt in a cliff fall.

The judge said that the court would arrange for the woman to be flown to Cornwall by helicopter immediately, with the rest of the jury being returned to their secret hotel for a sixth and seventh night until Monday.

Jean Savage, 48, a tobacconist from West Kingsdown, and Brian Perry, 53, a mini-cab company owner from Biggin Hill, both in Kent, deny conspiring to launder the profits.

The jury was told of a 'torrent' of profits from a complex money-laundering operation set up after the robbery in November 1983. Armed robbers escaped from a security warehouse at Heathrow with 3.4 tons of gold bullion worth pounds 26m. It was Britain's second-biggest robbery, after the Knightsbridge safety deposit raid in 1987.

The Brink's-Mat gold was never seen again, the court was told. But 'a river of cash started to flow within months of the robbery which turned into a torrent', said Michael Austin-Smith, QC, for the prosecution. Parry and Patrick Clark were 'part of a scheme to launder the cash to make it safe to use', he said. The case centred on the transfer of the money through various offshore bank accounts, properties and companies, so it would be 'cleansed of any association with the Brink's-Mat gold'.

Parry was a 'wheeling dealing businessman' who dabbled in property in a small way, according to Mr Austin- Smith. With a solicitor, Michael Relton, jailed for his part in the laundering scheme in 1987, Parry was the front man for a series of property deals. Money was put into offshore accounts and then brought back to be invested in the UK, 'much in Docklands during the mid- Eighties boom'. Parry went on the run when police issued a warrant for his arrest. He was later arrested in Spain and returned to England for trial.

The prosecution alleged Patrick Clark banked pounds 3.2m into an account at the Bank of Ireland's branch in Finchley, north London, and more than pounds 1m in a branch account in Ilford, Essex. The money was part of the proceeds from the stolen gold.

(Photograph omitted)

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