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Fifth suspect charged over stolen £52m pension funds 5 April 2011

Tony Morris, 48, of New South Wales, Australia, was extradited from his home country to appear in court on Friday, as part of an SFO probe into pension funds managed by trustee company GP Noble, which is now in liquidation.

Morris, of Palm Beach, initially appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court to be charged with conspiracy to defraud, theft and aiding and abetting fraud. Morris was a founding director of The Money Portal, the parent company of GP Noble.

Four other suspects have already been charged in connection with the case, including two former trustees of GP Noble. The former trustees are Graham Pitcher, 49, and Gary Cordell, 42, who are also facing a separate trial and were charged just days before Morris.

Peter Malmstrom, 43, of London, an associate of Morris, was charged in November 2010 with money laundering and proceeds of crime offences.

Independent financial advisor Quentin Russell, 53, was charged in November 2009. His trial, also at Southwark Crown Court, is scheduled for September 19 2011.

The SFO began investigating the management of nine pension schemes by GP Noble in July 2008, after The Pensions Regulator (TPR) referred the case to the agency.
 
The regulator appointed Independent Trustee Services Limited to manage the nine affected pension schemes in place of GP Noble.

TPR suspended GP Noble and two of its directors/officers, Graham Pitcher and Gary Cordell, from acting as trustees. All three have since been prohibited from acting as trustees and GP Noble has gone into liquidation.
 
The SFO, Nottinghamshire Police and City of London Police then made searches and arrests in August 2008.
 
The prosecution revolves around the alleged theft of £52m in two tranches: £30m was taken in August 2007 and £22m in April 2008 from nine pension schemes managed by GP Noble and BDC Trustees.
 
The alleged actions exposed the pensions of around 2,200 people to unacceptable risk.

Morris appears in Southwark Crown Court on April 8.

 

 

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