Former directors of Merseyside bottled gas business Alta Gas, Peter Bradley
and Peter Stott, were sentenced last Friday at Liverpool Crown Court to four and
two years’ imprisonment, respectively, for a £45m fraud leading to the collapse
of Bradley’s liquid petroleum gas company.
The collapse followed due diligence examinations of the business by
accountants instructed by venture capitalists who were becoming concerned.
Receivers subsequently discovered a sophisticated system of false accounts which
created a positive image of a profitable company to attact investment bankers.
Talks were already underway with Barclays to secure another £70m capital
injection when the true state of the company was revealed in an investigation by
Fraud Office in conjunction with Merseyside Police, commenced in late 2001.
Each of the former directors had denied the allegations but then pleaded
guilty just before trial at Liverpool Crown Court last Match. Confiscation of
assets, compensation and prosecution costs will be dealt with at a hearing on 24
September to enable further enquiries.
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