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Four managers cleared of British Rail swindle

4th January 1990, Page 10
4th January 1990
Page 10
Page 10, 4th January 1990 — Four managers cleared of British Rail swindle
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Keywords : Overcharge, Law / Crime

• Four former managers of that defunct NH: subsidiary Fleetcare have been cleared of swindling "enormous" sums out of British Rail by persistent overcharging.

The four allegedly encouraged their staff to cheat BR by falsifying submitted invoices, Southwark Crown Court heard.

It was alleged that the men instructed depot managers around England and Wales to overcharge on the costs of parts and labour when they invoiced BR — sometimes claiming for work that was never done. But the four, who did not give evidence in court, denied throughout that they had been involved, or behind, any deliberate overcharging.

They further insisted through their lawyers that no dishonest instructions were ever given to employees. The defence also pointed out that BR was not even aware of any overcharging on invoices, apart from the odd one or two they had queried, until the British Transport police investigation showed up some alleged discrepancies.

After a six-month trial, the jury found operations manager Brian Soanes, and regional directors John Flay and Barry Munt, not guilty of fraudulent trading between 10 October 1982 and 31 January 1984.

Regional director Donald Williams was also cleared.

Earlier in the trial, three senior managers of the company were cleared of the same charge because of insufficient evidence. Police conducted more than 1,000 interviews and sifted through more than 150,000 documents during the investigation.

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