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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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Company Secretary charged with fraud and money laundering

04/06/2015

Christopher Watson has been charged in relation to allegations of fraudulent activity undertaken from July 2008 to July 2014.

The allegations concern significant sums of money, in total involving almost £8m, which were electronically transferred from the company accounts to Christopher Watson's own personal accounts and those of his private business interests. These sums of money were allegedly used to gamble, settle personal debts, and to buy and renovate properties.

John Werhun, specialist lawyer at the CPS said, "The CPS has authorised the police to charge Christopher Watson with fraud by abuse of position of trust, and six counts of money laundering. Mr Watson was charged today.

"This decision was made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. After careful consideration it has been decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and a prosecution is in the public interest.

"Mr Watson will appear before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on 24 June 2015.

"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendant has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Details of the charges:

  • Fraud, contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006
  • Six counts of money laundering contrary to section 327(1)(c) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.