SFO succeeds in double Versailles fraud conviction

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had a rare unqualified success last week when Southwark Crown Court put away Versailles fraudsters Carlton Cushnie, represented by Jo Rickards of Peters & Peters, and Fred Clough, represented by Gerallt Owen of Orchard, for a combined total of 12 years in prison.

In the last week of May, the court found Clough, who turned Crown witness, and Cushnie guilty of conspiracy to defraud high-net-worth individuals who loaned money to Versailles Traders and Versailles Trading Partners.

The judgment was a coup for the SFO, which has struggled to get high-profile convictions since its 1990 Guinness success. Together with the investigation against Goldshield and others into conspiracy to defraud the NHS, the convictions send a strong message to UK plcs.

Peters & Peters instructed 3 Raymond Buildings’ Alex Cameron QC after the set’s Alun Jones QC dropped out after, according to press reports, his rate was cut when Cushnie got legal aid. Orchard instructed 5 Paper Buildings’ Jonathan Caplan QC and the SFO used Anthony Evans QC of 9-12 Bell Yard.