Johnson Matthey Bank Bailout Fraudster Jailed After 25 Years

A fraudster linked to the spectacular collapse of Johnson Matthey Bank (JMB) has been jailed in London for 16 months – more than 25 years after his crimes were committed.

Prosecutors were unable to bring proceedings against Vasant Advani, 67, after he left the Capital for West Africa in 1986.

But after suffering a stroke, he returned in 2007 to receive medical treatment and was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court earlier this month for 10 counts of false accounting and four additional charges of dishonesty.

Advani fraudulently obtained £484,000 (around £1.44m today) from General Motors and the United Finance Group for the renovation and purchase of 16 vehicles that never existed.

He was also a suspect in the investigation into the collapse of gold-making lender JMB in 1984.

The bank’s demise led to the first major rescue of a private bank by the Bank of England and encouraged Margaret Thatcher to introduce the Insolvency Act 1986.

Advani’s sentence is surprising because he’s an old man and the offences were committed so long ago, but that’s how the long arm of the British law works.

Claims for debts are statute barred after six years from the time the action occurred, while the period for mortgages is 12 years.

All civil actions are statute barred after a period of time except for those concerning crimes, irrespective of the offense.

Advani’s jailing highlights the strength of England’s criminal laws and proves that in the long run, crime doesn’t pay.