Martin Evans QC secures confiscation orders of over £10m for CPS on Operation Hornet

Lynden Scourfield was a director of HBoS’s impaired assets division based in Reading.  This division of the bank provided strategic advice and assistance to corporate customers who were experiencing financial distress. Between 2003 – 2007 he was corrupted by David Mills and Michael Bancroft. They operated Quayside Corporate Services Ltd [QCS], a company that was regularly appointed by Scourfield to act as a turnaround consultant to the bank’s business customers as a condition for further financial support. In fact, QCS was dishonestly used by Mills and Bancroft to extract exhorbitant fees and to operate those businesses simply to appropriate funds loaned (on Scourfield’s approval) by the bank.

Scourfield approved huge loans to the businesses well past the point when it would have been obvious to any honest banker that the debt could and would never be re-paid.  The result of the corrupt arrangement was the Bank incurred losses in the order of £245m in respect of customer lending managed by Scourfield which ultimately had to be written off.

Alison Mills (wife of David) was convicted of money laundering.

The defendants were convicted after a trial in 2017.  Confiscation orders were made by HHJ Beddoe at Southwark Crown Court on 12th and 16th September 2019 as follows:

Benefit obtained Order made

David Mills £57,923,899 £5,649,940

Michael Bancroft £2,331,764.35 £727,390.72

Alison Mills £11,531,768 £4,802,009

In each case, the order was in the amount of the available assets.

Martin Evans QC was instructed in the restraint and confiscation proceedings. 

If you would like to know more, or instruct Martin Evans QC, please contact the Practice Directors.

Successes for Chambers in Civil Recovery Cases

Members of Chambers have represented Defendants in a recent much publicised NCA Civil Recovery case:

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman represented a Defendant plus 3 Defendant Companies and Barry Stancombe represented a further Defendant company.

Barry Stancombe, having already set aside a Recovery Order obtained by the NCA on a summary judgment application, successfully settled the proceedings.

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman obtained successful settlements for their clients, including the retention of property and the recovery of commercial lending plus interest. 

This followed an eight-year investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into an alleged money-laundering racket involving one of Europe’s most notorious drug smugglers, the Russian state and hundreds of millions of pounds. Investigators suspected that their target (not represented by Chambers) had “amassed considerable wealth” through “unlawful conduct” but had put his assets in the names of others. £6m worth of assets are now subject to a Civil Recovery Order - Eleven properties will be handed over including an award-winning boutique hotel and brasserie plus property in prime London locations.

The alleged money-laundering scheme first came to light during an NCA investigation into luxury car salesman Amir Azam, who was jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates after being convicted of drug trafficking. That investigation recovered about £4m in assets.

Recent cases have shown that upon receipt of appropriate evidence and legal representations the NCA may be prepared to reach settlements without costs rather than proceed to a fully contested trial. This more recent commercial approach by the NCA allows for the barristers at 33 Chancery Lane to utilise their specialist POCA legal knowledge and civil law expertise in order to ensure the best outcome for those facing Civil Recovery proceedings brought by the NCA or other prosecuting agencies.