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Jury clears Norwich electrical appliance boss Peter Marko of fraud

PUBLISHED: 17:20 03 May 2016 | UPDATED: 07:30 04 May 2016

Peter Marko pictured in 2012

Peter Marko pictured in 2012

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

A company boss has been cleared of all charges levelled at him in a fraud trial over pension payments.

Peter Marko, a director of East Anglian Appliance Centres, formerly Allen and Bocking, denied seven counts of fraud.

One count was dropped by the prosecution, and after a week of evidence it took a jury just six hours of deliberation to acquit him on all remaining counts.

Norwich Crown Court had previously been told that prosecution evidence that workers were left with shortfalls in their retirement funds because their boss, Mr Marko, failed to pass on their pension contributions. But the 66-year-old, of Mill Hill, Bramerton, was found not guilty in a unanimous verdict.

He had told the court earlier in the trial that he acted in the best interests of staff while trying to keep the business afloat.

The company was formerly based in Queens Road and Trafalgar Street, in Norwich, and had been an agent for Electrolux, carrying out repairs and servicing.

“At no time did I have any intention of depriving anyone of any money,” he said in evidence. “I never tried to deprive my staff of any money.”

He said that he planned to pay the pension contributions when finances allowed and had told Legal and General of the situation.

Marko added that when the company had the cash, he planned to hand over what was owed.

“I wrote accepting liability to Legal and General,” he said. “I had no intention about misleading anyone.

“At the time I acted in the interests of the staff and the company.”

Asked in cross-examination by David Wilson, prosecuting, if he had been “gambling” with the financial future of his employees, he said: “I was one person trying to keep a business afloat and people in work in the worst recession.”

He added: “If I did not continue to subsidise the company they [the staff] would not have had wages.”

Judge Maureen Bacon summed up the evidence yesterday morning, with a verdict returned in the afternoon.

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