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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Cumbrian businessman warned over deal, trial told

A Cumbrian tycoon tried to cover up a kickback paid to a bank governor in exchange for a £90m printing contract, a court heard.

Bill Lowther photo
Bill Lowther

Related: Cumbrian tycoon ‘saw chance for business’, court told

Bill Lowther, 73, of Carlisle, was warned by associates that the deal was dangerous and he could be left “red-faced” if the details went public.

The packaging magnate is accused of bribing Vietnam’s state bank boss Le Duc Thuy by paying for his son to study an MBA at Durham University.

The payments paved the way for Lowther’s banknote printing firm, Securency, to win a lucrative contract in the south Asian state, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

Lowther, of St Aidan’s Road, near Warwick Road, has honours including an OBE and CBD and an honourary knighthood from the King of Belgium.

Former sales executive Ron Marchant warned Lowther a proposed letter to Vietnamese authorities on stationery from UCB Surface Specialities, another of Lowther’s business concerns, may expose the alleged corrupt agreement.

Lowther has pleaded not guilty to a single count of conspiracy to corrupt between January 1 and December 31, 2003.

The trial continues.

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