Palace officer accused of conning colleagues

A FORMER Royal Protection officer based at Buckingham Palace spent years conning colleagues and friends to fund a life of luxury, a court heard yesterday.

Altogether officers protecting the royals lost more than 250,000 to a spread-betting venture called "the currency club", one of a number of apparently successful sidelines Paul Page allegedly set up to clear spiralling debts.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard that throughout it all he hid his dishonesty behind a "veneer of credibility" fuelled by a fleet of expensive cars and claims he was a highly "adept" property developer and markets speculator.

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Lulled by his apparent Midas touch, promises of "fantastic" interest rate returns and impressive but cobbled-together development brochures, the money flooded in.

Douglas Day, QC, prosecuting, claimed much of it was promptly laundered by Page's wife before being gambled away. But jurors were told that even his "well-honed talent to deceive" could not hide an ever-growing financial chasm forever.

When the couple suspected one of their victims, "long-time friend" Fahim Baree, was helping to unearth the truth they allegedly turned to "death threats" to derail any investigation.

Page, 37, of Chafford Hundred, Grays, Essex, denies five counts – two of fraudulent trading, one of intimidation, threatening to take revenge and making a threat to kill between 1 January, 2003, and 30 March, 2007.

His wife, Laura, 42, pleads not guilty to "being concerned in an arrangement facilitating dealings with criminal property", intimidation and threatening to kill.

Mr Day told the court that Page joined the police in 1992. Six years later he was transferred to the Royal Protection Command, or SO14.

He said: "He was based at Buckingham Palace and was able to develop several potentially money-making sidelines.

"He developed a reputation for being good with money and for being knowledgeable about the stock market. Among the royalty protection officers, he ran what became known as 'the currency club', through which officers speculated through spread betting on the foreign exchange market."

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The barrister added: "His success with money was, on the face of it, evidenced by the fact that as a police constable he was nevertheless able to have the use of expensive cars such as a Range Rover, Mercedes and Porsches. These cars were in fact hired by Mr Page from a company based in Cardiff, called PWH Motors.


"He spent literally thousands of pounds hiring cars for himself and others as a reward for investing in his scheme. At the end of his relationship with the company, he owed 20,000."

As their financial difficulties spiralled – water rates and mail order catalogue bills went unpaid – Page allegedly pretended to move into property development. He went on to "obtain loans or investments by deception" from colleagues, friends and their families and later from other groups of people.

The trial continues.

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