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Prosecution closes case in ATL Pension fraud trial

Wednesday, April 02, 2014    

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AT 12:28 pm yesterday, the prosecution closed its case against three former Appliance Traders Limited executives being tried for fraud relating to the company's pension fund, a mere seven days from the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the trial.

Veteran attorney and lead prosecutor RNA Henriques declared the prosecution had concluded its case minutes after the court accepted into evidence a final bunch of documents as exhibit 69, including the minutes book of Gorstew Limited's meetings kept by company secretary Ken Lewis.

The documents were entered into evidence through Detective Constable Stacy-Ann Stoner of the Organised Crime Investigation Division in the absence of Lewis who was ill. This was in keeping with a previous ruling by Senior Magistrate Lorna Shelly-Williams in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court in Half-Way-Tree.

The next phase in the proceedings is for the defence to make no-case submissions before Shelly-Williams and for the prosecution to respond, which will be done between May 12 and 16, 2014.

The three executives -- Patrick Lynch, the former chairman of the pension fund; Catherine Barber, former general manager of the fund and Dr Jeffery Pyne, a former managing director of Gorstew Ltd, the holding company for Gordon 'Butch' Stewart's group of companies -- are believed to have conspired in the forging of four letters to deceive that consent was given for the distribution of $1.7 billion in pension fund surplus, from which they benefited.

The prosecution maintains that the letters, which were presented to Stewart by Barber, were backdated to 1998, 2002, 2005, and 2008. Pyne, who signed the letters, had left the company seven months before December 15, 2010 when the alleged forgery was discovered.

An American forensic document analyst found in tests that the letters were signed one on top of the other, causing impressions from the 1998 letter to be on the 2002 letter.

Lynch is alleged to be the mastermind behind the scheme, the court was told.

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