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Oxford alumnus sent back to jail for non-payment of his confiscation order worth millions of pounds

|News, Fraud and economic crime

An Oxford University alumnus has been sent back to prison for the non-payment of a confiscation order for his ill-gotten gains from a fake ‘green’ investment scheme.

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 £4 million following enforcement action taken by the CPS.

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

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 £16 million of the £65 million was spent on planting trees.

Instead the group stole £20 million 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.”

In 2019-20 the CPS recovered over £100 million, stopping hundreds of criminals benefitting from their ill-gotten gains.

Notes to editors

  • Adrian Foster is Chief Crown Prosecutor and Head of the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division 
  • Evdoros Demetriou (15/6/1939) was convicted in November 2017 of a conspiracy to cheat the public revenue. He was sentenced to a total of six years' imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director 
  • On 13 December 2019 a confiscation order was made against him in the sum of £4,682,613 which was payable within three months. The default period of imprisonment was set at nine years. By 22 July 2021 Evdoros Demetriou paid £102,825.84. The balance of the order including interest stood at £4,579,787.16.
  • Where a defendant refuses to pay their confiscation order within the period permitted by the Court, CPS Proceeds of Crime can invite the Court to impose the default sentence. The full debt owed continues to be recoverable until it is paid even if the default period of imprisonment is imposed. Interest at a rate of 8% p.a. accrues on the confiscation order amount after the period allowed for payment expires.

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