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Fraud claim man 'known to police'

ONE OF the men accused of defrauding the Salvation Army of pounds 6.3m was wanted for questioning by police last year in connection with another fraud investigation.

Gamil Naguib, who with Stuart Ford and his company Tilen Securities Inc, is alleged to have faked investments on behalf of the charity, featured in an inquiry by the Metropolitan and City police company fraud department.

A former employee at offices occupied by Mr Naguib confirmed that he was sought last year by fraud squad officers investigating the activities of Guardian Guarantee, believed to be a finance company operating from offices in Mayfair, London.

Sources within the Salvation Army confirmed last night that Mr Naguib was known to the police, but it was not known in what capacity or why they wanted to speak to him.

No returns from Guardian Guarantee have been filed at Companies House since July 1991. It is understood that no action was taken against the company or Mr Naguib, who leased space at the offices as a director of the Marco Polo Corporation Ltd.

That company shared the basement of 22-26 Shepherd Street, Mayfair, with Guardian Guarantee but, according to Companies House records, the Marco Polo Corporation Ltd is not registered as a UK company. Both companies left the premises last year without leaving a forwarding address. Papers lodged at the High Court accuse Mr Naguib, Mr Ford and Tilen Securities of 'misappropriating dollars 8.8m of the plaintiff's money and using it for their own purposes while fraudulently representing to the plaintiffs that they were holding and/or investing it for them'.

The writ - which names 12 other individuals and banks in Britain, Luxemburg and the Netherlands as innocent parties so they may release confidential information to the inquiry - details a number of transactions between bank accounts and individuals, unwitting solicitors and an airline company, Phoenix Airways Ltd of Edinburgh. On 8 September 1992, the writ says dollars 4,350,000 was paid to Imafina Investments Ltd of London - but no such investment company is listed at Companies House.

The case is sure to raise questions about the Salvation Army's choice of investment advisers.

Inquiries by the Independent have established that neither Mr Ford, nor Mr Naguib, nor Tilen Securities are registered with the Securities and Investment Board, the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation, the Financial Intermediaries Managers and Brokers Regulatory Association, or the Securities and Futures Authority in Britain.

The whereabouts of the two accused men and the money remained a mystery yesterday.