21 Mar, 2024 @ 09:50
2 mins read

Michelle Mone’s husband Doug Barrowman, 58, is cleared of embezzlement and tax evasion charges in Spain over ‘disproportionate’ €6.3 million invoice

THE husband of Tory peer Michelle Mone has been cleared of fraud and embezzlement charges following a trial in Spain.

Doug Barrowman, 58, was facing five and a half years in prison over charges he misappropriated €6.3m from a Spanish cable factory ‘for illicit benefit’ in 2008.

Prosecutors had alleged that Barrowman profited from a fraudulent invoice designed to evade tax and extract millions of euros from Spanish company B3 Cable Solutions via UK company Axis Ventura in 2008.

However, to the relief of the Glasgow-born millionaire and his six co-defendants in the dock with him, they were each acquitted on all charges at Cantabria’s Provincial Court in Santander.

The charges also included defrauding the Spanish government of a half million euros in tax relating to the payment.

Lords Standards
Baroness Michelle Mone with her husband Doug Barrowman during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords.

Barrowman admitted in court he had played a leading role in the purchase of B3 Cable Solutions in 2008.

He also confirmed the Spanish firm had made the €6.3m payment to Aston Ventures, a UK company founded by Barrowman, insisting it was a ‘consultancy fee.’

The company went bust four years later, costing the jobs of 200 people in the Santander area.

The three judges ruled that there was ‘abundant documentation’ which made it clear that services justifying the €6.3 million fee.

However, they also noted that the figure was ‘disproportionate’ and described the transfer as ‘strange’ and ‘hardly compatible’ with the business interests of B3 Cable Solution.

They added: ‘The prosecution accusation was based specifically on the non-existence of services. The possibility of the criminal consideration of an excessive or disproportionate payment hasn’t been touched on.’

On the tax evasion charges, they noted that the tax relief claimed by the defendants was very high but ‘acceptable.’

Barrowman’s business associates on trial for the same crime were Paul Ruocco, Mark Price Williams, David Powell, Timothy Eve, Michael Walton and Stephen Ellis.

Michelle Mone Yacht
Mone became the subject of a media frenzy after over speculation she had purchased her yacht the Lady M with money meant to purchase life-saving PPE

The decision will come as some good news for Barrowman and his embattled wife Michelle Mone, who is being investigated by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

She is under pressure for recommending a company secretly owned by Barrowman to supply PPE, including masks, during the Covid pandemic.

PPE MedPro was awarded €142 million in government contracts for equipment that turned out to be faulty.

Barrowman and Mone – who became famous as a bra manufacturer – had €87 million in assets frozen in the UK, including a country estate, a six-bedroom house in London’s Belgravia, a yacht and a jet.

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Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]
@waltfinc

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