Two former executives have denied they were involved in a conspiracy to inflate Arena Television’s finances that led to the company’s collapse.
Nicholas Cousins, who had a senior financial role at Arena, and Paul Froom, the former owner of a broadcasting equipment company, Sentinel Broadcast, have filed documents at the High Court, reports Law360.
The company’s administrators Kroll is suing the two men for £285 million over claims they were involved in the collapse of the company.
Kroll alleges that Sentinel was one of the companies involved in the fraud. It is said to have paid more than £1 billion in total to Arena from 2003 to 2021, with £976 million paid into two undisclosed accounts. It’s also claimed Sentinel received more than £1 million for non-existent work on video-server refurbishment and upgrades from Arena in 2018.
Cousins stated that he was aware of two undisclosed accounts, but Arena’s owner Richard Yeowart ran the them exclusively, and they were used for repayments of hire-purchase agreements.
He has also asserted that £205,000 he had received from Yeowart was not “corrupt gifts” but instead an incentive to keep him at the company after he had fallen ill and expressed his desire to leave, states the report.
Froom said he was aware of the accounts, but would only pay into them.
Arena Television collapsed at the end of 2021 with debts of £280 million. At the time it employed 63 members of staff principally based at its offices in Redhill.
The Serious Fraud Office opened its own investigation into the collapse in February.