Cigarette fraud `had Polish mafia link'

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The daughter of the murdered accountant David Wilson was told part of the funding for an international cigarette fraud had come from the Polish mafia, a court heard yesterday.

Michelle Wilson, 28, added that a Norwegian commodity broker involved in the deal had been in fear of his life because a shipment of cigarettes had failed to materialise.

Ms Wilson was giving evidence at Carlisle Crown Court where Michael Austin, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, denies murdering her father.

The prosecution alleges Mr Wilson was killed on Mr Austin's orders because he had spoken to police about the fraud.

Ms Wilson said Torre Horgen, a Norwegian commodity dealer had provided $1.8m for Mr Wilson, 47, to buy a ship in Miami to transport contraband Marlboro cigarettes to Europe.

Miss Wilson said her father and Mr Horgen went to Venezuela where the ship was berthed after learning the cargo had not been loaded. "Torre Horgen was under pressure from the people who supplied the money to him. I was led to believe it was the Polish mafia," she said.

She was told Mr Horgen had been forced to leave his hotel because he was in fear of his life over the ship and the money he owed. "He thought these people would take the opportunity to get rid of him. The people who put the money up were from Poland. Torre referred to them as the Polish mafia."

The trial was adjourned until today.