Brentwood fraudster jailed for multimillion pound global financial scam

A fraudster has been jailed for his part in a multimillion pound scam which caused several businesses across the world to collapse.

Peter Riley, 64, of The Galleries, Warley, was jailed last month for seven years and eight months with Edward Davenport, 45, of Portland Place, central London.

Riley was the “lieutenant” of self-styled “Lord” Davenport, whose lavish home was used in scenes from Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech.

Davenport set up a company called Gresham Ltd in 2005 and pretended it was a respectable business with 50 years’ experience sourcing commercial loans.

In 2009, the Serious Fraud Office investigated the company and found that between 2007 and 2009 it received more than �4.5m from clients who believed they were paying for due diligence and deposit fees.

‘Huge scale’

In Austria, two victims had contractors waiting to start work with diggers after Gresham promised to find, but didn’t deliver, 32million euros (�27.4m) to fund a leisure resort. In India, a victim now owes �9.4m after Gresham failed to finance a �156.9m scheme.

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The company had at least 51 victims.

Riley was described by judge Peter Testar as an “accomplished conman”, someone who could lie with incredible ease and skill to clients desperately waiting for money.

He added: “He strung along borrowers on a huge scale with bare-faced lies.

“The stress and anxiety these people suffered were enormous and their lives have been grievously affected by this fraud.”

The pair were jailed last month and the case can now be reported after the judge lifted restrictions.

Riley and Davenport are banned from being company directors for 10 years after their release.

They were convicted at Southwark Crown Court of a single count of conspiracy to defraud after a three-month trial alongside Borge Andersen, 66, of Roland Gardens, South Kensington.

Andersen was jailed for 39 months at the same court on September 12 and banned from being a company director for seven years.

Three other men convicted separately will be sentenced next month.