Company that lost €100m in bogus investment scheme brought prosecution to ‘protect other potential victims’. 

A private prosecution has resulted in a man being convicted at Southwark Crown Court over his role in a €100m fraud. Paul Sultana was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment and disqualified from acting as a director for seven years.

The prosecution related to a bogus investment opportunity operated in 2010 and 2011. The defendant worked with co-conspirators to defraud a company, Allseas, which invested €100m in the scheme. Previously the Crown Prosecution Service had secured the prosecution of one conspirator, Luis Nobre, but declined to bring a case against Sultana. Nobre is currently serving a 14-year sentence.

Mishcon de Reya’s white-collar crime and investigations group was instructed by Allseas.   The company’s president Edward Heerema said: ‘We felt it was in the public interest for us to pursue the case against Mr Sultana to protect other potential victims by ensuring that he is not free to repeat his crime. Today’s conviction vindicates our decision to pursue this case, and sends a strong message to fraudsters that there are effective routes for justice to be served.’

Mishcon partner Alison Levitt QC added: ‘This case highlights the important role that private prosecutions can play in bringing a fraudster to justice. Fraud is not a victimless crime and, in deciding to pursue the case in this way, Allseas has protected future victims, some of whom might be vulnerable.’

Last month the Private Prosecutors Association announced plans for a private prosecutions code of conduct and noted its expectation that cuts to public funding would lead to more cases being privately prosecuted, or begun with a privately funded investigation.