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Fraud trial: Seven men cleared

PUBLISHED: 10:25 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 17:22 25 August 2010

SEVEN men accused of taking part in a multi-million pound mortgage fraud have walked free from court after insisting they had acted legally.

SEVEN men accused of taking part in a multi-million pound mortgage fraud have walked free from court after insisting they had acted legally.

Southwark Crown Court heard a group of white collar professionals had allegedly helped pull off the con with the help of staff at one of Britain's biggest homebuilders.

But after a two month trial all the defendants were cleared by the jury yesterday as the Times went to press.

Estate agent Mohammed Barrie, 39, his brother Muctaru Barrie, 29, both of Pinewood Avenue, Dartford, mortgage valuers Brad Fisher, 44, George Sourou, 43, and Sofiya Ahmed, 28, accountant Dean Dairo, 48, and solicitor Okwuchukwu Izuchukwu, 45, were all cleared.

They were part of a group which bought a brand new block of flats from Persimmon Homes, one of Britain's biggest homebuilders, before selling them on at huge mark-ups.

Alleged mastermind Alim Barry, a Sierra Leonean property magnate who also owns houses in Leeds and Manchester, has fled abroad.

In early 2006, his shell company Atrex bought a total of 84 flats in the Hill House block in Thamesmead from Persimmon for £15.25 million.

The properties were later sold on for £18.75 million - a total profit of £3.5 million.

Mohammed Barrie, who was one of the alleged 'recruiters' of mortgage applicants, told jurors he believed he was working legally for his relative.

He said: "I had no knowledge of the fraud."

All defendants denied and were cleared of charges relating to fraud.

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