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Jury at Norwich Crown Court sent out in international fraud case

14:00 17 October 2012

Norwich businessman and Christian philanthropist Graham Dacre.

Norwich businessman and Christian philanthropist Graham Dacre.

A jury deciding the fates of two men accused of an international con on a Norfolk businessman was sent out today.

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Jurors will now reach a verdict on whether George Katcharian, 60, and Cemal Esmene, 56, conspired to defraud businessman Graham Dacre out of almost £12m and launder the money.

Katcharian, 60, is also accused of conspiring to defraud a German church of 10m euros, and both are charged with laundering the money - charges which they deny.

Norwich Crown Court has heard how Mr Dacre, the Christian philanthropist behind the Open Venue and the Open Academy in Heartsease, fell for a deception compared to a “card trick” in May 2008.

He handed over £11.9m and was promised huge returns on the investment through a secret, high-yield trading platform, which he was allegedly told was controlled by Iranian-born Katcharian.

But the promised returns never materialised.

In May, Alan Hunt, 65, of Poole, Dorset, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud Mr Dacre alongside Arthur ‘Trevor’ Ford-Batey, 62, of Carlisle, while Ian Yorkshire, 62, of Clarendon Villas, Brighton, was convicted of conspiracy to launder the money.

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