Law firm 'was channel for stolen funds': Steve Boggan reports on how a lawyer was used as a conduit for money laundering

A BRITISH solicitor running a small family firm is being investigated in connection with a dollars 4.85m ( pounds 3.08m) money-laundering operation set up by businessmen with Mafia links in the United States.

Detectives and lawyers are trying to find out how Anthony Brierley Collins came to be used as a conduit for the movement of dollars 750,000 stolen from the Salvation Army and a further dollars 4.1m netted in an elaborate investment fraud in Germany and Switzerland.

According to inquiries by the Independent, Mr Brierley Collins, who operates with his wife, Helen Neilson, from a house in Northampton and an office in St John's Wood, north London, opened bank accounts through which money from each fraud was channelled.

While he was acting for Guido Haak, a Dutch businessman who is being held in the Netherlands in connection with the dollars 8.8m Salvation Army fraud, Mr Brierley Collins transferred dollars 400,000 of the stolen money from his firm's client account in London to a bank in Los Angeles to part-fund the purchase of a dollars 1.2m apartment in Santa Monica.

He also set up a client account that was used to move money gained in another illegal scheme involving the theft of dollars 4.1m from a group of European investors. Some of the cash subsequently vanished to Germany, dollars 1m was sent to the United States and spent on a beach house in Malibu and the rest vanished.

Devon and Cornwall Police and the Serious Fraud Office are examining the involvement of Mr Brierley Collins's firm in the investment fraud, while lawyers acting for the Salvation Army and the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund have been investigating his role in the movement of the charity's cash.

After each fraud, at least some of the money found its way to Harold Glantz, a New York businessman with Mafia links.

Since 1967, Glantz, who is in custody in the US accused of involvement in the Salvation Army fraud, has been investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Police Department, the South and East US Attorney's offices, the South and East Organised Crime task forces and the State Investigation Commission.

Among the figures with whom US investigators linked Glantz was Carlo Gambino, the head of one of the leading New York Mafia families, who died in 1976.

Mr Brierley Collins's involvement in the European investment transfers is under investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police, which became interested after helping the FBI smash a dollars 24m fraud in the US. He has also been questioned by Dutch police prosecuting Haak. But his solicitor, Steven Barker, said his role in the Salvation Army case was as a witness, not a suspect.

'He has been duped like everyone else in this case,' Mr Barker said.

It is unclear when Mr Brierley Collins met Haak or how his small firm was chosen, but he is thought to have been acting for the Dutchman by the middle of 1992. His wife stopped working to have a baby in 1991.

In the summer of 1992, Haak, Glantz and several associates took dollars 4.35m of the Salvation Army's money from Gamil Naguib and Stuart Ford, two investment 'advisers' who have been accused by the charity in High Court proceedings of having stolen the funds in the first place.

According to documents lodged by the Salvation Army Trustee Company at the Superior Court in Los Angeles, Mr Brierley Collins received dollars 750,000 from Continental Capital Markets Inc, a company owned by Harold Glantz, on 1 December 1992.

The money was reaching the end of an elaborate laundering process designed to confuse investigators. Channelling it through Mr Brierley Collins's firm was to have been the last step before moving it abroad. Mr Brierley Collins opened a client account for the money at his firm's bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland at Aldwych, central London, in the name of Haak or his company, Delta Management BV.

On 16 December and 18 December 1992, Mr Brierley Collins transferred two sums of dollars 200,000 each to the First Los Angeles Bank in Santa Monica, crediting the account of San Vicente Escrow, agents for the purchase of real estate.

The money was used to buy an apartment on 11th Street, Santa Monica, for Harold Glantz's daughter, Lisa. It is understood that the remaining dollars 350,000 went to Glantz and Haak, or interests connected with them, and to cover Mr Brierley Collins's fees.

Laundering of money in the European fraud also involved the solicitor opening a client account through which money was channelled. The figure this time is believed to have been dollars 4.1m, but much of it again found its way to Harold Glantz. He is thought to have put dollars 1m from the European fraud towards a dollars 5m Malibu beach house on the exclusive Pacific Coast Highway.

The European investors who lost their money have lodged a claim against Mr Brierley Collins with the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund. The fund is investigating but said its liability would be limited to pounds 1m per claim, even if the losers lost as a group, as in this case, and even if their complaint was upheld.

Mr Brierley Collins, who drives a J-registered Jaguar XJS and lives in a large house overlooking Northampton's Abington Park, said he had been advised to make no comment.

When asked how a small family firm had been used to move almost dollars 5m of the proceeds from two of the largest frauds of recent times, and how it was that each time the money found its way to the same man with Mafia connections, Mr Brierley replied: 'That's a fair question.'

But he refused to elaborate.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine