Donor who fled over fraud charges is set to return to Britain

 

Nick Clegg defended his party's decision to hold on to the £2.4m donated by the millionaire fraudster Michael Brown, who is back in Europe and facing extradition to the UK.

Mr Brown was flown from the Dominican Republic to Madrid at the weekend and is now awaiting return to the UK under a European Arrest Warrant.

The fraudster achieved national fame when he gave £2.4m to the Liberal Democrats to see them through the 2005 general election. No other Liberal Democrat backer has been able to come near to matching his munificence, and yesterday Mr Clegg dismissed a suggestion that the Liberal Democrats are morally obliged to give the money back.

He told BBC's Sunday Politics programme: "This was something that happened before I was even an MP, let alone leader of the Liberal Democrats. What I have been told is that the Electoral Commission, in 2009, looked at this exhaustively and they categorically concluded that the money was received in good faith and all the controls and checks that should have been made were reasonably made by the Liberal Democrats at that time." He added that he was "very pleased" that Brown is returning to face justice.

At his trial in 2008, Brown was convicted of posing as an investor to persuade people to part with money which he used to fund an extravagant lifestyle, including a Mayfair flat, a £2.5m private jet, and a personalised Range Rover.

Among his victims was the Manchester United boss, Martin Edwards, who gave him around £7m after being assured that the money would be invested and bring substantial returns.

After his conviction at Southwark Crown Court, Brown fled to the Caribbean, and was sentenced in his absence to seven years in prison.

In January, he was arrested by local police in the town of Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, on a separate fraud charge.

A City of London Police spokesman said: "Michael Brown was deported from the Dominican Republic and landed in Madrid on Saturday morning, accompanied by officers from the Dominican Republic.

"City of London Police will be taking the appropriate steps to bring him back to the UK, via a European Arrest Warrant." Detective Superintendent Bob Wishart said: "The City of London Police is pleased that after four years evading British justice, Mr Brown is a step closer to returning to the UK to start his prison sentence."

Suggested Topics
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

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US