Latest on the trial of men accused of defrauding Norwich businessman Graham Dacre

The leader of a German church which was allegedly hoodwinked by some of the same men accused of defrauding Norwich businessman Graham Dacre told how he had signed an agreement believing the 10m euros investment was 'absolutely safe'.

Giving evidence Armin Brinkmann, who is president of the New Apostolic Church, in Dortmund, told a Norwich Crown Court jury how he flew in for a meeting in London in December 2007, and signed a contract to hand over the 10m euros for investment after it had been checked out by Eberhardt Dodt, who was at the time the finance manager of the church and fellow church member Professor Frank Zisowski.

He said he met Alan Hunt and David 'Fraser'Roberts, two of the men in the dock, at the Law Society Courts in Chancery Lane, where a contract was signed agreeing the church would hand over the 10m euros to a company called HBF Capital.

He said he was led to believe that the capital would be 'absolutely safe' and everything was legal and thought the investment would generate cash for humanitarian projects.

'We are not gambling.'


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He said that Hunt and Roberts made a good impression and thought the money would be checked and then transferred back into the church's own bank account: 'I thought the capital would be absolutely safe.'

He said he signed the contract along with Hunt and said there were already some signatures on the contract.

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Mr Brinkmann became concerned when the money never materialised despite constant phone calls.

'I was very angry that the money did not come back.'

He said that every time he was given excuses and promises but nothing ever happened.

Mr Brinkmann said he had threatened to take the matter to the police but it was not until May 2010 that a formal complaint was finally made.

He said that up until then he was told different deadlines that the money was going to be transferred but nothing ever happened.

'We were told a string of excuses, problems and difficulties. There was nothing reliable.'

Hunt, 65, of The Avenue, Poole; Arthur 'Trevor' Ford-Batey, 61, of Miles McInnes Court, Carlisle; David Roberts, 62, of Montpelier Road, Brighton and and Ian Yorkshire, 61 of Clarendon Villas, Brighton, are charged with defrauding and laundering the money from the German church.

The men along with Kevin Brennan, 55 of Kirkburn, Driffield are charged with defrauding Mr Dacre, 60, out of almost �12m by getting him to hand over the cash for an investment scheme he thought would make millions to reinvest in charitable projects for young people in Norfolk.

The five along with Brennan's brother Martin, 40, of Bracken Road, Stockton-on-Tees, are also charged with laundering the money.

Hunt, Ford-Batey and Roberts are also charged with conspiracy to defraud Utah commodities trader Randall Schreiber in 2004 and laundering the money.

All men deny the charges and the trial continues.

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