Convicted Lib Dem fraudster is arrested in Dominican Republic

 

The convicted fraudster who gave the Liberal Democrats their biggest ever donation has been arrested in the Caribbean after more than three years on the run.

Michael Brown was detained in the Dominican Republic earlier this week and his arrest, and possible extradition back to the UK, will reopen the controversy over the Liberal Democrats' refusal to hand back the £2.4m donation.

He skipped bail in August 2008 before he could be tried for a £40m fraud, and became one of the country's most wanted crooks and the target of an international manhunt.

He was tried in his absence and sentenced to seven years, but before his arrest he had been wooed by the Liberal Democrats and flew Charles Kennedy, then the party leader, around the country in a £2.6m private jet. He gave the party a £2.4m donation through a company. His spending also included a £327,000 entertainment system at his villa in Majorca, £7,000 on exclusive stationery, £100,000 on upgrading the library at a Belgravia gentlemen's club, a £400,000 yacht and cars including a Range Rover, a Bentley, and a Porsche.

Brown, who named his dog "Charles" after Mr Kennedy, had posed as an international bond dealer and promised investors returns of up to 50 per cent as reward for their faith in him. Among his victims was Martin Edwards, the former Manchester United chairman, who invested £8m with Brown's company, 5th Avenue Partners.

His arrest by police in the Dominican Republic was in the coastal resort of Punta Cana where he had rented several properties, including a luxury home in a complex guarded by private security, close to a golf course that was said to be among his favourite haunts.

While living in Punta Cana under the name Darren Patrick Nally he was sentenced to three months by a court for failing to make payments as part of an an oil deal. He was released when he promised to pay $318,000 (£205,000) to the company involved but more recently was said to be late in keeping up with instalments. Despite his arrest it remains unclear if the authorities will send him back to the UK.

The UK authorities, especially the City of London Police, will want to bring him back to serve his jail term but there is no extradition treaty with the Dominican Republic.

There were suggestion last night, however, that the Dominican Republic authorities may want to get him off their hands and that they could deport him on the grounds he had entered the country on false papers.

A spokesman for the City of London Police said: "We are pleased to hear that Michael Brown has been detained by authorities in the Dominican Republic."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee