Norwich businessman Graham Dacre threatened with file when he became suspicious of �12m fraud
Christian businessman Graham Dacre was threatened with the release of a file supposedly containing private information about his business dealings when he became suspicious of an alleged �12m fraud.
The threat was just one of a series of tactics used by fraudsters to first trick Mr Dacre into giving them �11.9m for a high yield trading platform, and then string the Norfolk philanthropist along when he asked for his money back, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.
The court heard was told that Mr Dacre was taken in by the deception and then fed 'gibberish' when he asked where his money was.
The tactics included:
•Claims of charity work to heal Rwanda following the civil war and genocide.
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•References from a Texan pastor named Barry comparing one of the defendants to a biblical character.
•Promises that Mr Dacre would soon have �3m to invest in the Open Youth Project in Norwich.
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•Blaming the 2008 financial meltdown for preventing money being transferred.
•Accusing 'agent provocateurs' of causing problems with the deal.
Defendants Ian Yorkshire, Alan Hunt, Arthur 'Trevor' Ford-Batey, David 'Fraser' Roberts and Kevin Brennan are charged with defrauding Mr Dacre.
The five men, along with Brennan's brother, Martin, 40, of Bracken Road, Stockton-on-Tees are also charged with laundering the money.
All men deny the charges.
Mr Dacre, 60, was expecting a 45m (euros) return on his �12m investment. He transferred the money in May 2008 to a Liechtenstein Landesbank account held by Ian Yorkshire, 61, of Clarendon Villas, Brighton.
He was told the money would be transferred to his newly-opened Swiss account within four to eight days, but by June Mr Dacre said he was becoming 'increasingly' concerned with the delays.
In September 2008 he asked for the money back, but was told the banking crisis was causing problems with the transfer.
Mark Fenhalls, prosecuting, described the claims as a 'bare-faced lie'.
'Five months on Hunt is still pretending there is some way out of this,' Mr Fenhalls told the court.
On October 22 2008 Hunt told Mr Dacre he had been working in Rwanda to build peace between the Tutsis and Hutus.
War between the two tribes had led to genocide in the nineties and Mr Fenhalls said it was 'staggering' that Hunt had not received a noble prize or awards for international diplomacy.
On November 1 in an email entitled 'Armageddon' Mr Dacre gave Hunt three days to get his investment back. 'The reasons have appeared increasingly less plausible,' he wrote.
But Hunt blamed 'agent provocateurs' for the problems and told Mr Dacre he would email his former colleagues in the country's security services about it.
Mr Fenhalls added defendant Kevin Brennan, 55, of Kirkburn, Driffield, was in the background of the fraud, and Hunt referred to him as their security man.
They allegedly turned to Brennan when Mr Dacre considered going to the police.
Hunt wrote to Mr Dacre: 'Kevin says he has carried out a deep investigation into your business and private life.
'He says he will go public with his file on you if anyone is arrested.'
And a Texan pastor named Barry Price reassured Mr Dacre about Hunt's credentials in an email filled with religious references in which he described Hunt as a 'diamond'.
In the email Price told Mr Dacre he had scoured the world looking for someone like Hunt who would provide huge returns on investments for humanitarian work.
He claimed to have met the son of former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev and been to every continent to look for investment opportunities, before finding Hunt.
Pastor Price said he trusted Hunt more than, 'David was able to trust Jonathan' - a reference to the bible story of David and Jonathan.
But Mr Fenhalls told the jury that rather being kept safe, Mr Dacre's �11.9m was transferred to accounts across the world including car dealerships and a Brazilian bank account.
Hunt, Ford-Batey and Roberts are also charged with conspiracy to defraud Utah commodities trader Randall Schreiber in 2004 and launder the money.
The three men along with Yorkshire also allegedly defrauded and money laundered from a church in Dortmund, Germany, in 2007.
All men deny the charges.
The trial continues.