Ex-Touche partner jailed in Jersey

Onetime Touche Ross partner Alfred Williams was jailed for 18 months last Friday by Jersey’s Royal Court for his part in ‘the Cantrade affair’.

Williams, 49, who used to be a tax adviser with Touche Ross’s Nottingham branch, was found guilty of making misleading, false or deceptive statements to investors.

The prosecution had sought a sentence of three years but his counsel, Simon Young, called for a lower sentence or a community service order, saying Williams had already paid heavily for his crime.

‘He is under medication for depression and separated from his wife and 11-year-old son,’ said advocate Young. ‘He will have to apply for bankruptcy in the short term and his employability is at rock bottom.’

Eighty-four international investors lost $10m (#6.1m) in currency deals carried out by independent trader Robert Young through Cantrade Private Bank Switzerland (CI) Ltd, the Jersey-based subsidiary of Swiss banking giant UBS.

Robert Young reported healthy profits when in fact he was incurring huge losses. Williams produced documents purporting to audit the false trading figures, which at one point claimed profits of $16m.

The court heard a recording of Williams telling investors at an investment forum in Bermuda in June 1993 that Touche Ross audited Young’s trading results on a quarterly basis.

‘These were lies,’ said advocate Cyril Whelan for the prosecution. ‘Those things never happened. Had they done so, the most cursory audit would have revealed the losses.’

Cantrade admitted four charges of criminal recklessness by making misleading statements – the first time, it is understood, a leading bank has admitted such offences – and was fined #3m plus #300,000 costs.

The investors, who recently brought a civil action against Cantrade and Touche Ross in New York, say the $23m set aside by UBS for compensation is ‘inadequate’ and ‘unjust’ and $46m would be a fairer and more realistic figure. So far, 16 investors have accepted compensation totalling $3.5m.

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