News Column

Fraudster ordered to pay pounds 14m in fines or go to jail

July 18, 2014

Simon Bowers

Eddie "Lord" Davenport, the serial fraudster best known for promoting the notorious Gatecrasher Ball events popular with public school pupils in the 1980s, has been ordered to pay almost pounds 14m in fines and compensation or return to jail for a further 10-year sentence.

The ruling comes almost three years after Davenport, who despite past affectations does not hold a peerage, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in jail for pounds 4.5m of loan frauds, preying on scores of small businesses in desperate need of finance between 2005 and 2009. His sentence was later reduced and he was released from prison two months ago.

At the heart of Davenport's fraudulent business activities had been a 24-room townhouse on Portland Place, the only substantial recoverable asset prosecutors have been able to trace to him.

Under Davenport's ownership, the house hosted celebrity parties and a "upmarket" swinger event called Killing Kittens. It was used as the venue for music videos including Amy Winehouse's Rehab. It has taken the Serious Fraud Office three years to convince the courts that proceeds from Davenport's fraudulent activities were used in the unorthodox purchase of the building. The house had previously been the Sierra Leone high commission until Davenport acquired it for a below-market sum in 1999 while the west African country was in the middle of a civil war.

He will now be under pressure to sell the property in order to avoid further time in jail. Judge Testar, who also presided at Davenport's lengthy trial, said yesterday: "For some four years I have had a deep sense that moving matters along in the case has been a truly Sisyphean task, both before during and after the trial . . . In the end I have decided that the risk of Mr Davenport retaining some of the fruits of his crime is one that my public duty dictates I should not take."


If Eddie Davenport fails to pay the fines he will have to return to jail for a further 10 years Photograph: Eddie Mulholland/Rex

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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