LETTER: Sting too rich to notice?

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The Independent Online
From Mr Christopher Burley

Sir: Was Sting too rich to notice his ex-accountant, Keith Moore, had stolen over pounds 6m, for which Keith Moore has been sent to prison for six years? As Sting's solicitor and the person involved in recovering nearly all the stolen monies (report, 18 October), hopefully the following description of the fraud will put the record straight.

All Sting's and his companies' income received in respect of his career was paid into bank accounts on which only Sting or his wife could sign. This was except for very specific and safeguarded situations, such as paying tax, VAT and tour expenses. As this was the case and as Sting signed thousands of individual cheques over the years, like anyone else having bank accounts he felt in complete control of them. Keith Moore, as his accountant, had the responsibility for reviewing Sting's bank statements and to advise Sting on where his monies should go. No one else received copies of Sting's bank statements, not only because his personal finances are confidential to him, his accountant and the tax authorities, but because as Sting and his wife controlled those accounts there was no reason for anyone else to be involved.

Keith Moore not only defrauded Sting, but also various bankers, a publishing company and the Inland Revenue. The fact that he managed to defraud so many normally careful business people illustrates the devious and clever nature of the fraud, which was practised by Keith Moore under the umbrella of a large number of banks and bank accounts. Such bank accounts are not unusual for an internationally successful music artist, with large amounts of income being received and legitimate expenses being paid out constantly. Neither Sting nor anyone else would spot a fraud which took the Fraud Squad three years to prove.

It was a clever fraud perpetrated against many people. However, with my help, that of Nick Valner of Frere Cholmeley Bischoff and that of Sting's manager, Miles Copeland, nearly all the money has been recovered. The monies were not recovered from the people who benefited from the fraud, but from people who were taken in by Keith Moore and who, sadly for them, have had to refund Sting out of their own, albeit corporate, pockets.

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Burley

Burley and Co

Solicitors

London, WC2

18 October

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