City man embroiled in multi-million pound fraud

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A MAN from North Derbyshire found himself embroiled in a multi-million pound fraud after creating the stationery template which a conman entrepreneur used for sending correspondence.

Richard Stephens, formerly known as Richard Kirkup, aged 65, of Ennerdale Close, Dronfield Woodhouse, admitted conspiracy to defraud as part of the case against self-styled ‘Lord’ Edward Davenport, 45, of Portland Place, Central London – the mastermind behind a fraud in which scores of businesses were ripped off around the world.

Stephens, who is to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in November, became embroiled in a scam run by Davenport, whose lavish home was used in scenes from Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech, and who mixed with celebrities and royalty.

Davenport, who owns Sierra Leone’s former High Commission in West London, set up Gresham Ltd in 2005 and pretended it was a respectable business with 50 years’ experience of sourcing huge commercial loans.

Simon Mayo QC, prosecuting, said: “It had a flattering corporate brochure and used headed notepaper that lent an image of corporate credibility. It was essentially worthless. Its only business was fraud.”

Davenport was jailed last month for seven years, eight months, after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud following a three-month trial.