Feb 2, 2023
UK SFO Convicts Steel Bosses in $500 Million Trade Finance Fraud
(Bloomberg) -- Two executives of a British steel trading business were found guilty of multiple counts of fraud in a $500 million trade finance fraud scheme by a London jury.
Melis Erda and Louise Worsell, managing director and treasurer at a Balli Group Plc unit, were convicted on six counts of fraud at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, the Serious Fraud Office said. They were accused of plotting to trick trade finance banks to get loans by providing fake shipping documents and forged signatures on fake sales contracts.
Balli Steel traded steel globally using short-term loans to fund its deals. An investigation by the fraud cops was triggered when the company collapsed in 2013 with a debt of around $500 million owed to over 20 banks.
Nasser Alaghband, chief executive officer of Balli Steel Plc, previously pleaded guilty on one count of fraudulent trading ahead of the trial.
“This group of individuals intentionally defrauded multiple international finance houses as they attempted to keep their fraudulent business afloat, using increasingly audacious methods as the scale of their debt spiraled,” Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said.
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