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Court orders fraudster King to pay £320,000

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A FRAUDSTER who plundered hundreds of thousands of pounds from a Jersey company following the death of a business partner has been ordered to pay £320,000 or face three more years in prison.

Russell King

Russell Stephen King (60) was jailed for six years earlier this year after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud.

King, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, laundered £671,000 from the now defunct Belgravia Financial Services Group over three months, with much of the money hidden in complex accounts in Switzerland.

And he also sold cherished registration plates on behalf of his former business partner Duncan Hickman, who helped set up the Belgravia Group, following his sudden death, and kept the money for himself.

On Thursday in front of the Royal Court’s Superior Number, which convenes for the most serious cases, Crown Advocate Matthew Jowitt, prosecuting, applied for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law.

He told the court the total amount King benefitted from following his criminal activities was £939,978.

However, Advocate Jowitt said the amount that might be recovered in this case, allowing for assets including wrist watches and jewellery was £322,212.

The advocate applied for a default sentence of an additional three years in prison if King does not pay that amount by the end of his current sentence.

Advocate Adam Harrison, defending, said an application would be made to vary the order if the realisable amount received from his assets, namely the wrist watches and jewellery, was inadequate.

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Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, presiding, granted the order and said that if the money was not paid back, then King would face a further three-year prison term.

During his sentencing in April, the court heard how King had fled Jersey to hide in the state of Bahrain in the Middle East more than a decade ago.

He had taken first-class trips around the world at the expense of the Belgravia Group – a company that was then in financial trouble and was struggling to pay staff wages.

The court was told King had been exploiting the situation of Mr Hickman’s death in 2008 to help himself to the company’s money.

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States police investigators, staff from the Law Officers’ Department and Met Police detectives worked for six years gathering evidence against King, such was the complexity of the investigation, codenamed Operation Humidor.

He was finally extradited from Bahrain in 2017 to face charges in Jersey.

King was the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary in 2011 called the Trillion Dollar Con Man, which highlighted his alleged fraud that involved the alleged duping of Notts County Football Club and former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.

King was not convicted of any offences related to anything other than the charges he admitted in Jersey. Jurats Charles Blampied, Pam Pitman, Kim Averty, Gareth Hughes and Geoffrey Grime were sitting.

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