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Bosses accused of lying about distribution deal
10:00am Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
BOSSES at Torex Retail concocted a “bogus” distribution agreement to boost their financial figures, a jury heard.
Nigel Horn, 58, and Mark Woodbridge, 42, are both on trial for conspiracy to defraud the shareholders of the software firm Torex Retail, which had offices in Banbury and Witney, as well as in Europe.
They deny the charges and the case, which follows an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, is expected to last up to 12 weeks.
Woodbridge, of Mill Farm, Brookhampton, Kineton, Warwickshire, who was group financial accountant for Torex Retail, is accused of two counts of conspiracy to defraud between May 1, 2006, and January 26, 2007 and three counts of false accounting in 2006.
Horn, of Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, the firm’s legal director, is charged with conspiracy to defraud between November 1, 2006, and January 26, 2007.
Gibson Grenfell, prosecuting, said in 2006 Torex was negotiating to buy Retail J, a company seen as a market leader in retail software.
But, he told the court, before the deal was completed a sum of £5m appeared to have been paid to Torex to secure distribution rights to Retail J’s software.
He said that Retail J’s founder, Michael Carroll, didn’t even know the agreement existed “until he was shown it by the Serious Fraud Office”.
Mr Grenfell added: “The agreement was worth a great deal more than £5m if it was genuine. It is absolutely clear that the agreement was bogus.”
He said the firm which allegedly made the payment, Magdalen Consulting, was in fact a “one-man company” belonging to Robert Loosemore, who has now admitted two charges of conspiracy to defraud.
The trial continues.