Jailed South Yorkshire businessman will lose £1.8m

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A WEALTHY South Yorkshire businessman jailed for laundering almost £100,000 in tainted money has failed in a human rights challenge to an order stripping him of £1.8 million in assets.

Darren John Bagnall, aged 44, was caught with a bag containing £99,200 in bundled £20 notes at a Manchester hotel in November 2005.

When examined, 69 per cent of the notes were found to be contaminated with cannabis, compared with an average two per cent in random samples.

He was jailed for 15 months in 2006 for money laundering and, though his crime involved much less cash, was ordered to hand over £1.8 million under a confiscation order.

At the Court of Appeal, lawyers for the businessman of Westgate, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, complained he should not have been ordered to pay over so much cash.

And although they secured a £200,000 cut in the bill, they failed to convince top judges Bagnall’s human rights had been violated by the seven-figure order.

The Crown alleged some of Bagnall’s millions came from involvement in a VAT fraud known as missing trader or MTIC fraud.

His lawyers argued his right to a fair hearing had been violated, because no formal prosecution for the offence had occurred.

But, rejecting his appeal, Lord Justice Moses, Mr Justice Macur and Mrs Justice Sharp said it was up to Bagnall to prove where his money had come from - and he had not managed to do so.

Lord Justice Moses said: “There can be nothing unfair in requiring the appellant to demonstrate two of the companies through which he was trading were carrying out lawful business.

“What was the difficulty? We can perceive no unfairness in requiring the appellant to establish the trade in which his companies were involved was not MTIC fraud.”