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Last Updated: Friday, 27 April 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Studio director jailed for fraud
Alex Swan
Alex Swan's defence said he "was not trying to line his own pockets"
The former head of the failed South West Film Studios has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for fraudulently obtaining 1.87m of EU grant money.

Alex Swan, 44, of Kensington Mall, London, admitted four charges of forgery and seven of obtaining money by deception at Truro Crown Court.

He was also banned from being a company director for 13 years.

The judge said Swan's obsession with the studios "drove a decent family man to commit serious criminal offences".

'Passion for film'

The studios went into administration less than two years after forming.

The closure of the half-built St Agnes studios in 2004 was the European Objective One funding programme's most high-profile failure in Cornwall.

You must have realised you would have to embark upon a sophisticated and deliberate fraud
Judge Philip Wassall

The court heard that the forgery charges were in connection with share documents used to convince the Government Office for the South West that the project should receive grant funding.

Mr Thomas Kark, defending, said: "My client was not trying to line his own pockets but was motivated by a passion for film and a passion for this project."

He said the studios had made one film called Cold and Dark and two other films were in production when it shut.

Swan pleaded guilty to four charges of forgery to obtain Objective One funding for the studios and seven charges of obtaining money by deception.

But Judge Philip Wassall said: "You must have realised you would have to embark upon a sophisticated and deliberate fraud and you took that route from the start and everything that has stemmed from it was entirely foreseeable.

"I accept you did not do this to line your pockets and that the success of the film studios became your driving passion and obsession and drove a fundamentally decent family man to commit these serious criminal offences."

The studio boss was jailed for fraud

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19 Mar 07 |  Cornwall
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06 Oct 06 |  Cornwall
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19 Jul 02 |  Entertainment

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