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Originally Posted by gt350mike View Post




For nearly a decade Richard Davison and girlfriend Ellen George built an enviable reputation in the boatbuilding industry for their high-speed inflatables.
But in court it has been claimed that, unknown to customers, the respectable front of Crompton Marine hid an undercover business supplying "uncatchable" boats to international drug smugglers.
Polly the spaniel strikes fear into smugglers
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Managing director Davison, 39, and his partner George, 41, were suspected of making secret cash deals on boats costing up to 350,000, each with eight 250-horsepower engines strapped to the back.
Ranging between 30ft and 60ft long and capable of producing 60 knots (about 70mph) at sea, they could out-run any pursuers. Similar sized boats normally have one or two outboard motors.
Their low profile also made them virtually invisible to radar and many were painted grey or black, making them difficult to spot with the naked eye.
The couple were even believed to be designing a 108ft version that could be used by criminals running contraband between northern Africa and Spain.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how customs officers who raided their 350,000 home near the business in the sleepy seaside resort of Lowestoft, Suffolk, found 1.2 million in cash hidden in holdalls and cupboards.
A further one million Euros (around 656,000) and 39,000 was discovered by Spanish officials in a property used by Davison in Malaga, southern Spain.
Showing a photograph of a boat to the jury, prosecutor Simon Draycott QC said: "At full power it used 900 litres of petrol an hour and had capacity to hold 15,000 litres of petrol.
"This boat was tested in the sea off Lowestoft. The gentleman who took it out loaded it with six tonnes of shingle, it had five people on board and it was still able to travel at 50mph.
"This was such a powerful boat it could carry a lot of drugs, a lot of contraband and still go so fast it could outrun any maritime craft.
"The ribs were built, sold and transported to southern Spain, north Africa and Morocco.
"Davison, George and Rush knew those buying the boats wanted them for one reason - to transport drugs and contraband from north Africa to southern Spain.
"They also knew the money used to pay for the boats was coming from the proceeds of crime."
An email sent to potential customers boasted of "high-speed, uncatchable craft that have a low radar signature", he added.
Details emerged during the trial of Ian Rush, who allegedly carried on the illegal trade under the name Nautexco Marine when George and Davison were arrested in 2004.
George has already admitted possession of criminal property and money laundering and is awaiting sentencing. Davison is on bail in Spain where he faces drug smuggling charges.
The jury heard that Crompton Marine made deals with the criminal underworld between 2000 and 2004.
The illicit trade was concealed by only accepting cash payments which were placed in personal and overseas bank accounts.
George and Davison were arrested after British customs officials put them under surveillance when Spanish authorities reported seizing a number of their boats during anti-drug smuggling operations.
The raid in Lowestoft also uncovered designs for the giant speed boat as well as forged ownership and insurance certificates.
Rush, of Butterwich, Lincolnshire, a former haulier who delivered boats for the couple, was charged with arranging the retention of criminal property.
His barrister, Philip Hackett QC, said Crompton Marine was used as a "money laundering" outfit which transferred 16 million across international borders and generated 2.7 million in assets between 1998 and 2004.
But Nautexco, he added, was run "entirely properly".
Davison was charged with drug trafficking, tax evasion and money laundering.
Ellen George pleaded guilty to two money laundering offences.
The trial continues.


Read more: Boatbuilding firm supplied 'uncatchable' boats to smugglers, court hears | Mail Online
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:35 AM
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