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Hampstead millionaire will get legal aid to fight fraud charges

PUBLISHED: 13:22 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:18 07 September 2010

A HAMPSTEAD entrepreneur and major political donor is to be tried in his absence after skipping bail in June. Millionaire Michael Brown, of Templewood Avenue, is the Liberal Democrats biggest ever donor, giving £2.4 million to help fight the last general

A HAMPSTEAD entrepreneur and major political donor is to be tried in his absence after skipping bail in June.

Millionaire Michael Brown, of Templewood Avenue, is the Liberal Democrats' biggest ever donor, giving £2.4 million to help fight the last general election. He later fell out with the party over its handling of the gift and said he wanted it back, describing the Lib Dems as muppets.

The 42-year-old Glaswegian is accused of a series of multi-million pound frauds dating back to 2005 and faces charges including obtaining money by deception, trans-ferring criminal property, theft, furnishing false information and perverting the course of justice.

Judge James Wadsworth QC said on Monday at Southwark Crown Court: "Given the timing of his ceasing to observe the terms of his bail and his apparent dismissal of his counsel Mr Nicholas Purnell QC, I am satisfied that this is a voluntary absence from his trial.

"I am quite satisfied that trial should continue."

The millionaire was also granted legal aid after the court heard private funding for his case had run out.

His trial is fixed for September 15.


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