Alan Pritchard. The Birmingham solicitor was jailed for five years after being found guilty of using the legal aid scheme as a “licence to print money”, siphoning off £2.25m in 12 months. Pritchard’s staff toured deprived areas of the country getting people to sign blank legal aid forms. The judge said that Pritchard, legal consultant Peter Lane and office manager Brian O’Connor had set up a “mass production line” of bogus claims.
US companies delivering goods electronically. Under a new European Commission directive, companies not registered in the EU with yearly online sales of more than euro100,000 (£62,000) will have to register in a member country and pay VAT at the prevailing rate. The proposals could affect US companies such as Time Warner, AOL and Microsoft, and Japanese giants such as Nintendo.
Prince Mohammed bin Fahd’s former business manager Said Ayas, who was found guilty of contempt of court in a $220m (£144m) dispute with Fahd. A High Court hearing attempted to get Ayas to honour agreements he made with the prince’s lawyers in May last year, admitting he took the money. Ayas – who is a friend of Jonathan “if I let you stay out until eleven will you lie for me in court” Aitken (he signed a false statement supporting Aitken in his failed libel action against The Guardian and Granada TV) – has 14 days to produce powers of attorney allowing the prince to seize some of his assets or face jail.
Austin Powers creator, Mike Myers (above), who is being sued for £3m after walking out on his latest movie because he thought the script was not funny. Myers was contracted to make the film Dieter based on a character he created for US TV show Saturday Night Live, but walked off the set saying: “I cannot, in good conscience, accept a £12m fee and cheat movie-goers who pay their hard-earned money to see my work, by making a movie with an unacceptable script.” Universal Pictures is demanding compensation and wants Myers barred from working on any TV or film projects until he completes Dieter.