High Court bid to reopen fraud case involving Celtic Energy

An application has been made to the High Court to restart a case against six businessmen and lawyers who were accused of a multi-million pound fraud.

The case involving Caerphilly-based mining company Celtic Energy was thrown out of Cardiff Crown Court in February.

A rarely-used procedure has been used to try and have the case reopened.

Eric Evans, Alan Whiteley, Frances Bodman, Richard Walters, Leighton Humphreys and Stephen Davies QC had been accused of conspiracy to defraud.

They have denied doing anything wrong.

The five men and one woman had been accused of planning to set up a company in the British Virgin Islands and transferring leases for the sites from Celtic Energy to avoid restoring the land once coal extraction had finished.

But in February, Mr Justice Hickinbottom dismissed the charge of conspiracy after hearing legal submissions.

It is thought the case had already led to legal bills of millions of pounds for both the defence and the prosecution.

At the end of April, the Serious Fraud Office applied to the High Court for a Voluntary Bill of Indictment which could reinstitute the criminal proceedings if the court agrees.

The application will be heard in the High Court at a date to be set.

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