In the Media

Family conned banks of millions

PUBLISHED November 8, 2006

A man belonging to a family-led gang which pulled off a ?3m fraud over two years has been convicted.

Wael el-Jamal of Maida Vale, west London, was found guilty of conspiracy. Twelve family members have either been convicted or pleaded guilty.

The City of London Police's Economic Crime Department arrested 13 people during raids across London in February.

The Lebanese fraudsters opened up hundreds of accounts at high street banks and bribed bank insiders.

El-Jamal will be sentenced later, following the trial at Southwark Crown Court, along with two other accomplices who had earlier pleaded guilty.

Amer Al-Jamal, 24, another accused was cleared of the charge.

Shopping spree

The gang used forged passports, false identities and imaginary companies to open 298 accounts at 50 branches of Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Lloyds TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland, the court heard.

They bribed some bank employees.

The court also heard that the gang went on shopping sprees and bought expensive goods, such as gold Rolex watches.

They converted large amounts of money into US dollars and send it to the Middle East, the court was told.

In September, Seevaratnam Sivathasan, 34, a former assistant manager at the Putney branch of Lloyds TSB, was convicted of 18 counts of corruption and jailed for 27 months.

His colleague Omar Khan, 30, who worked at the bank's Pinner branch was also jailed for two years in 2005 for fraud.