Oxford University alumnus sent back to jail over fake green investment scheme

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Oxford University alumnus sent back to jail over fake green investment scheme

An Oxford University alumnus has been sent back to prison for the non-payment of a confiscation order for his gains from a fake ‘green' investment scheme, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Evdoros Demetriou, 82, was returned to prison to serve a default sentence of nine years for failing to comply with the outstanding order of more than £4m following enforcement action taken by the CPS.

Demetriou was convicted on 6 November 2017 at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.

Mr Demetriou was a sophisticated fraudster who abused his influence and targeted wealthy victims in a callous manner."

Together with four others he offered a ‘green' tax efficient investment scheme to wealthy investors to steal millions from them. In total all the defendants were ordered to pay £20,611,738.00.

Michael Richards was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, and also cheating the revenue in relation to his personal tax liability. He was sentenced to a total of 11 years' imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director.

Robert Gold was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, and also cheating the revenue in relation to his personal tax liability. He was sentenced to a total of 11 years' imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director.

Rodney Whiston-Dew was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue, and also cheating the revenue in relation to his personal tax liability. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years' imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director.

Jonathan Anwyl was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue. He was sentenced to a total of five-and-a-half years' imprisonment.

The gang were all Oxbridge graduates and used their former positions as a conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, a solicitor and merchant banker to persuade wealthy investors to put money into their ‘green' investment scheme.

Investors were told their money would be spent on research and development into carbon credits, but only £16m of the £65m was spent on planting trees.

Instead the group stole £20m of the investors' money and laundered it via bank accounts and secret trusts, spending it on luxury properties in London, Australia, and Dubai as well as hidden offshore investments. They also failed to pay around £6.5million in tax.

On 13 December 2019 a confiscation order was made against Evodros Demetriou in the sum of £4,682,613. He was given three months to pay and in the event of non-payment the default sentence was set at nine years' imprisonment. Demetriou had paid only £102,825 towards his order in the 16 months since it was made.

On the 22 July 2021 his confiscation order was outstanding in the sum of £4,579,787 and at a hearing in Westminster Magistrates Court he was ordered to serve his full default sentence on top of his original sentence of imprisonment of six years.

Adrian Foster, of the CPS, said: "Mr Demetriou was a sophisticated fraudster who abused his influence and targeted wealthy victims in a callous manner.

"He went on to hide his assets but comprehensive and diligent work by the CPS and the HMRC resulted in a confiscation order to recover his ill-gotten gains. He made no attempt to repay the vast majority of his confiscation order and where we can robustly enforce, we will not hesitate to do so, by applying to the court for the default sentence to be activated."

The CPS said that in 2019-20 it recovered over £100m "stopping hundreds of criminals benefitting from their ill-gotten gains".