Retrial clears man of fraud

PUBLISHED: 17:18 31 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:50 29 May 2010

Peter Rust

Peter Rust

AN ACCOUNTANT has been found not guilty of setting up a bank account, used by fraudsters to con people out of £1 million. Peter Rust, 58, an accountant for 37 years and a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants was found guilty of com

AN ACCOUNTANT has been found not guilty of setting up a bank account, used by fraudsters to con people out of £1 million.

Peter Rust, 58, an accountant for 37 years and a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants was found guilty of complex, international money laundering offences on March 29.

He appealed to the High Court and that court ordered there should be a re-trial on the grounds that the judge hadn't directed the jury properly.

On Monday, at the end of the re-trial at St Albans Crown Court Rust was acquitted of a charge of entering into an arrangement, which facilitates the acquisition, use or control of criminal property.

Rust, of Bloomshawbury Cottage, Hatfield Broad Oak, had also pleaded not guilty to two charges of conspiring to furnish false information.

The prosecution had claimed that a bank account at a high street bank in Woodford Green, Essex, was set up to help launder money for international fraudsters who had used internet scams to fleece victims.

In just nine weeks one and a quarter million dollars flowed into the Barclays account, it was alleged.

The prosecutor said Mr Rust, the sole principal of Fordyce Curry and Co, who the court heard charged £300 an hour, was in 'effective control' of the account at Woodford Green, which received money from victims across America, Europe, Israel and the Far East.

From that account money would then be transferred to a Barclays bank account in Douglas on the Isle of Man, said Stuart Trimmer QC prosecuting, as part of a money laundering scheme.

It would then be moved onto other destinations throughout the world making it harder to trace as it made its way towards the fraudsmen, the jury heard.

The money had been sent by victims who had answered emails promising them huge sums of money, in some cases millions of dollars, if they came up with fees to handle the transactions.

In every case it was an elaborate fraud, but the victims parted with thousands of dollars, never to see the money again, St Albans Crown Court was told.

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