Police Bring Charges in Blue Arrow Affair
LONDON (AP) _ Police on Thursday charged 10 individuals and their employers Natwest and UBS Phillips and Drew in connection with irregularities in a 1987 sale of $1.3 billion worth of Blue Arrow PLC stock.
The announcement followed the arrest and release earlier Thursday of an unspecified number of individuals. The 10 defendants were charged with conspiracy to defraud and they are scheduled to appear before City of London Magistrates Court on Friday, police said.
The investment firms Natwest Investment Bank Ltd., County Natwest Ltd. and UBS Phillips and Drew Securities Ltd. also were charged with conspiracy to defraud, as well as with conspiracy to contravene Section 13 of the Prevention of Fraud (Investments) Act 1958, police said.
The police, and the Serious Fraud Squad, a central governmental unit charged with investigating financial crime, have been conducting an investigation into what is known as the Blue Arrow affair.
The investigation began after the Department of Trade and Industry released a report in July on the events during and after the sale of shares to existing stockholders.
The report severely criticized National Westminster PLC, its County Natwest unit, and Union Bank of Switzerland’s UBS Phillips and Drew for their conduct in the transaction.
County Natwest was British employment agency Blue Arrow’s adviser in its 1987 bid for Manpower Inc., a much larger U.S. employment company.
When a $1.3 billion stock sale to finance the bid flopped, County Natwest obscured how much of the stock was left in the investment firms’ hands.
A series of top-level resignations followed publication of the trade department’s report, including that of the chairman of National Westminster, Lord Boardman, and three board directors.
Police said the people charged were Charles Nigel Villiers, Jonathan Cohen, Stephen Clark, David Reed, Nicholas Weston Wells, Alan Michael Keat, Philip Martin Domville Gibbs, Christopher Graham Stainforth, Paul James Smallwood and Timothy Frank Brown.