The trial of six businessmen charged with conspiracy to commit fraud who were involved with Warrington-based brokerage Total Asset, broadband provider H20 Networks and Belgian lessor KBC Lease UK, has begun at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Stephen Dartnell, George Alexander and Kerry Lloyd, formerly of Total Asset and Carl Cumiskey, formerly of H2O Networks, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in connection with an investigation into the purchase of a number of agreements by KBC and Barclays Asset Finance from Total Asset.

Elfed Thomas, formerly of H2O Networks, and Simon Mundy, formerly of KBC, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in connection with an investigation into the purchase of a number of agreements by KBC from Total Asset.

Mr Dartnell, Mr Mundy and Ms Lloyd were also charged with conspiracy to give corrupt payments in connection with the same agreements, which were referred by KBC to the SFO in October 2010.

At a pre-trial hearing in January last year at Westminster magistrates court in London the defendants pleaded not guilty.

The trial began on 5th September at Southwark Crown Court and is likely to last for around 12 weeks, according to a spokeswoman for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

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By GlobalData

The SFO investigation into now-defunct Warrington-based funder Total Asset began in January 2011, after it collapsed with debts of around £150m (€176.58m).