Doyle ‘plundered 1.2m in Abbey National fraud’

Fraud Trial:Court hears of chief’s alleged conspiracy to cheat bank

The former Abbey National mar-keting services director Michael Doyle plundered 1.2m from the bank by farming out non-existent work to outside companies, the court was told on the opening day of his Old Bailey trial last week.

Doyle is charged with four counts of conspiracy to defraud Abbey National between November 30, 1992 and October 26, 1994. Seven other defendants are each accused of one count of conspiracy to defraud the bank. The case was first revealed in Marketing Week (August 26 1994) when Doyle was suspended by the bank.

Doyle, 35, paid out huge sums from the bank’s “miscellaneous account” to firms controlled by his co-accused and then “channelled” at least 250,000 back to himself, it is alleged.

Jurors were told that “greed got the better of Doyle”. He was arrested in October 1994. Doyle, responsible for the bank’s multi-million pound annual promotions budget, was at the heart of four sep- arate fraud conspiracies, alleged Anthony Glass, QC prosecuting.

“He used his job to place orders with a number of outside agencies for marketing and promotional work. The case for the prosecution is that he dishonestly conspired with the other defendants in the dock who were all, save for his brother James Doyle, directors of outside agencies,” said counsel.

In the dock alongside Doyle are: Stuart Nicholson, 40; James Doyle, 31; Steven Bracken, 36; Guy Hewitt, 35; Robert Taylor, 42; Ian Zak, 46; and Timothy Spillane, 53.

Glass explained to the jury that throughout the period of the alleged fraud Nicholson was the director of the firms Major Taylor Nicholson and Fixed Focus, while Bracken ran ASB Consulting. Meanwhile, Hewitt and Taylor were directors of NRG Communications and Zak and Spillane were involved with the Business Development Partnership.

“These four conspiracies involved the agencies sending invoices for bills to Abbey National for payment for work which either had never been performed, or where it had been done, excessive payment was dishonestly de-manded and paid,” said Glass.

Instead of using the normal account for promotional payments, Doyle used “the miscellaneous account number 3938… intended to reduce the chance of his fraud being discovered”, added Glass.

Glass said that in 1993, 662,910 came out of the account, while by August 1994, when Doyle was suspended, a further 548,964 was paid out to his co-defendants’ companies.

Counsel told the jury: “You may want to ask yourself what Doyle got out of the four conspiracies. It is not possible to give the exact figure in answering that question, but we can prove 230,577 went to an account controlled by him and his wife.” Glass said the Crown was unable to identify the source of a further 29,986 Doyle received. “As we go through the story you may conclude it was really greed that got the better of him.”

All the defendants deny the charges. The trial is expected to continue for up to six months.

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