Bloomberg News

‘Lord’ Davenport, Five Others Convicted in Fraud, SFO Says

October 05, 2011

(Updates with comment from Davenport in sixth paragraph.)

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Six men were convicted over a 4 million-pound ($6.2 million) fraud in which a London company charged fees for commercial loans it never provided.

Edward Davenport, 45, who described himself as an English Lord while having no official title, was the ringmaster of a “sophisticated criminal enterprise,” the U.K. Serious Fraud Office said in an e-mailed statement.

Davenport and Peter Riley, 64, directors of the company Gresham Ltd., were sentenced to seven years in prison last month and banned from acting as company directors for 10 years. Another director, Borge Andersen, was sentenced to three years. David McHugh, Richard Stephens and David Horsfall, who posed as advisers to Gresham, are to be sentenced Nov. 10.

Gresham claimed to offer commercial funding or venture capital for construction projects in the U.K., Europe, the U.S., India and the Caribbean. It took millions in “deposits” or “verification” fees, the SFO said. None of the victims received any money.

Judge Peter Testar said Riley was a “very accomplished con-man” who had “spun a web of elaborate lies to explain why the money had not come,” according to the agency’s statement.

Davenport said he was “shocked and dismayed” at his sentence, according to an e-mailed statement from his lawyer. He has filed an appeal at London’s High Court and wants to clear his name, he said in the statement.

--Editors: Christopher Scinta, Peter Chapman

To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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