Fraud flop back in the news

pile of euros

A miscarriage of justice case that has now been running for over 13 years is back in the news. Starting next week – on Friday 14th October, 2022 – a series of three articles will cover the latest legal developments.

To both recap and set the scene, the first article featuring Leeds-born Ralph Christie, 63, and the biggest failed fraud investigation, and prosecution, in the history of the British police service, was published by Neil Wilby Media on 1st October, 2018. Headlined ‘The Counts of Monte Christie‘ it set out the crux of the Christie campaign to clear his name following a conviction in March, 2015 of five counts of fraud by false representation (read here).

He had been acquitted in a full Greek trial, heard before three senior judges in the courthouse in Chania, on much the same charges in October, 2013.

In May, 2020 a second article – Licence to Kill – covered the extraordinary and, so far, failed attempt by West Yorkshire Police and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to extradite Ralph Christie from his home on the Greek island of Crete, where he has been resident since 2005, over a 28 day recall to prison resulting from alleged minor breaches of his prison licence (read more here).

Two articles in September, 2020 featured a civil claim, filed in the Greek courts in 2009 and still ongoing 13 years later, in which the two parties are Ralph Christie and his former business partner, Stephen Thomas, a Bradford businessman whose complaints, also in 2009, originally led to the police investigation, codenamed Operation Laggan, into property dealing on Crete. Read more here and here.

Another three articles followed in June and July, 2021 (read here, here and here). They mainly charted the questionable role of another key player in the prosecution of Ralph Christie: Former Crete resident, Susan Watt, another one-time close business associate who turned turtle and threw in her lot with Stephen Thomas. Not a single allegation they made between them – and there were many – has found substance in any criminal court, either in England or Greece.

The most recent article was a lengthy piece that examined closely the deeply flawed roles of two of Ralph Christie’s close relatives, his younger brother Cedric Christie, himself a former long-serving detective with West Yorkshire Police, and his own son, Declan Christie, now a director of a successful flooring company, in his conviction on five of nineteen counts with which he was charged at Bradford Crown Court in 2015 (read more here).

A mind-boggling 55 million euros on the indictment has now been reduced to around 450,000 euros (plus interest) recoverable via the UK’s proceeds of crime regime.

Ralph was cleared of theft, money laundering and perverting the course of justice charges and vehemently maintains that he will, ultimately, be cleared of those counts that saw him sentenced to seven years in prison.

So, readers, strap in and brace yourself for more dramatic twists and turns in this long-running saga.

Page last updated Sunday 9th October, 2022 at 0655hrs

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Picture credits: PA Media

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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