RLC team successful in SFO prosecution of £315M bank fraud

April 14, 2023

Following a 20 week trial at Southwark Crown Court, Jane Bewsey KC leading Tom Payne, Dr. Alexis Dite, Mary Cowe (Associate Tenant) and Faras Baloch (Disclosure Counsel) have successfully prosecuted Nasser Alaghband, the CEO of British steel trading company Balli Steel PLC.

A SFO investigation uncovered how Alaghband had orchestrated a £300m fraud to keep his failing company afloat. The investigation which opened in 2014 gathered information from law enforcement partners in 36 jurisdictions to expose a widescale global fraud.

Alaghband together with two senior executives Melis Erda and Louise Worsell, secured trade finance by telling lies to the banks about the state of the business and by creating false contracts for non-existent steel shipments.

The shipping documents were certified by an in-house shipping company, registered in the Cayman Islands, and operated solely by fax machine via Balli’s own Marylebone offices.

After defrauding 20 banks over two years, the Balli Group collapsed in 2013 with debts of £500 million.

Alaghband pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent trading ahead of the trial and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison on 4 April, 2023 with the two senior executives receiving sentences of over three years each.

The RLC team were instructed by the SFO.

Read news stories here:

[The Times]


[Law Gazette]

[Global Trade Review]