28 January 2006

De Lorean aide Bushell dies

Belfast Telegraph

By Roly Laird
28 January 2006

THE "brains" behind the massive DeLorean fraud, Frederick Bushell, has died at the age of 78.

Bushell was cremated yesterday in Norwich following a funeral service in the city's Wymondham Abbey.

The former company director was only one of the three masterminds behind the failed luxury carmaker to face justice.

In 1992 Bushell pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to conspiring to defraud the DeLorean Motor Company of more than £5m.

Bushell, who was chairman of Lotus at the time of the fraud, was sentenced to three years in jail, fined £1.5m and ordered to pay costs of more than £800,000 but he failed to pay the fine and spent an extra year in jail instead.

The trial judge at the time said: "Bushell, along with the late Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars and John De Lorean himself, had been engaged in a bare-faced outrageous and massive fraud.

"It was a disaster for the British taxpayer and so many people in Northern Ireland, including many of small means, who were ill-prepared and ill-equipped to cope with the gross misfortune that befell them when the DeLorean dream turned into a nightmare."

The judge also told the court that Bushell, with his knowledge of finanace as a chartered accountant, had been the brains behind the fraud even though he received the smallest of the three shares in the money.

The trio had funnelled more than £5m cash through a Panamanian registered Geneva-based company called GPD Services set up by Bushell and the Lotus chief.

Chapman died before Serious Fraud Office investigations were completed and De Lorean, who died just last year, could not be extradited from the United States.

Between 1978 and 1979 both Labour and Conservative governments ploughed more than £85m into the De Lorean project to bring skilled jobs to the unemployment blackspot of west Belfast.

By 1982 the company had gone bust with the loss of 2,600 jobs and all the government money.

Westminster's Public Accounts Committee slammed the De Lorean project as "one of the gravest misuses of public resources".

Liquidators acting for the government have succeeded in clawing back about £20m from John De Lorean and Swiss bank accounts owned by the late Colin Chapman.

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