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SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE MAY RENEW HOME FRAUD PROBE

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The Serious Fraud Office will consider a retrial of Michael Robinson, former managing director of Homes Assured, af...
The Serious Fraud Office will consider a retrial of Michael Robinson, former managing director of Homes Assured, after the conviction of two of his fellow directors for fraudulent trading, the Financial Times reports (p7).

The SFO handled the investigation and prosecution of the collapsed mortgage broker's directors following its collapse in 1989, and said it would decide within the next month whether there will be a fresh prosecution.

The Department of Trade and Industry is also considering restarting civil actions against seven former Homes Assured directors, including Sir Edward du Cann, the former conservative party chairman, to bar them from holding directorships.

Homes Assured, launched to capitalise on the sale of council houses to their tenants, had run up debts of £10.7m within two years of its creation and went into liquidation in August 1989, leaving more than 1,500 creditors out of pocket and led to the convictions at the weekend of tow of its directors.

The trial ended on Saturday with the conviction of the company's founder, Anthony Dobson, and Keith Woodward, its former finance director. Both were convicted of trading while the company was insolvent. Mr Dobson was also found guilty of two charges of procuring the execution of a security by deception and Mr Woodward was convicted of furnishing false information. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Mr Robinson on the charge of fraudulent trading.

Mr Dobson and Mr Woodward are due to be sentenced by Southwark Crown Court on October 1.

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