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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
'Persecuted' for Brink's-Mat case
John Palmer was given an eight year sentence for timeshare fraud
John Palmer claims police victimised him
The legal team representing convicted timeshare fraudster John "Goldfinger" Palmer claim he has been "persecuted" because of his alleged links to the 1983 Brink's-Mat bullion robbery.

Outside the Old Bailey they pledged a "vigorous and full" appeal after he was ordered to pay 33m in cash and assets to the state.

Palmer is serving eight years in jail for conspiracy to defraud.

On Tuesday he was ordered to hand over the 33m and also pay 2.7m in compensation to his victims.

Brink's-Mat will always be with him, I'm sad to say that his acquittal has led to a persecution rather than a prosecution

Lawyer Giovanni di Stefano

Outside court, Palmer's legal representative Giovanni di Stefano said the 52-year-old intended to pay the compensation but would appeal all other charges.

Mr Di Stefano said: "We as lawyers can never predict outcome but we anticipate and sincerely hope that justice will not only be done but be seen to be done regardless of whether he is John Palmer, John Smith or anyone."

Palmer has denied the fraud allegations against him throughout.

He maintains that he was targeted by police because of his alleged involvement in the smelting down of gold in the Brink's-Mat bullion robbery.

Palmer was acquitted of in involvement in the robbery which netted 26m.

But Mr Di Stefano said: "Brink's-Mat will always be with him, I'm sad to say that his acquittal has led to a persecution rather than a prosecution."

Palmer has a fortune estimated at 300m
Palmer says he will pay compensation

Mr Palmer, he said, had "never had a problem with compensation" and said it would be paid.

"Any genuine person that has been affected by people that were employed by the timeshare operation in the indictment period, Mr Palmer has never, ever, ever refused payment, save that they had to be genuine."

Paul Martin, also acting for Palmer, said they intended to challenge "the entirety of the proceedings".

"The grounds of appeal are extensive, they are against conviction and sentence and stretch to 109 pages.

"We are considering further grounds and the appeal will be pursued vigorously and fully.

The Crown Prosecution Service defended the confiscation order - the biggest in English legal history - awarded against Palmer.

Spokeswoman Jane Hart said: "The confiscation legislation is designed to deprive the defendant of his proceeds of crime.

"This case demonstrates clearly the powers available to both the prosecution and the courts to enable this to be done.

"It also confirms our commitment to ensure that crime does not pay."

The BBC's Sarah Lockett
"Thousands of British people, many of them pensioners, were cheated"
Kim Winter, Holiday Which Magazine
"A lot of people were taken in"
See also:

23 Apr 02 | England
Timeshare victims wait for cash
23 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Timeshare king jailed for eight years
18 May 01 | UK
The fraud king of Tenerife
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