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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 18:27 GMT
Crime boss jailed for seven years
Ruth Adams
Charges against Ruth Adams were dropped
One of the UK's most notorious gangsters has been jailed at the Old Bailey for seven years for money laundering offences.

Terry Adams, 52, from Barnet, north London, was worth about 11m but had no work history and was paying no tax or national insurance, the court heard.

Last month he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder his income from crime between 1997 and 2003.

Adams was also ordered to pay 750,000 compensation for the 1m he laundered.

Similar charges against his wife, Ruth, were dropped during the inquiry.

'Cunning mind'

Adams, believed to have been head of the Adams criminal family, made so much money from crime he was able to retire at 35, the Old Bailey heard.

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Timothy Pontius told him "you have a fertile, cunning and imaginative mind capable of sophisticated, complex and dishonest financial manipulation".

He comes with a pedigree, as one of a family whose name had a currency all of its own in the underworld
Andrew Mitchell QC

The prosecution accepted that he had not been involved in organised crime since 1993.

But he had placed illicit money with various people and used it to live a life of luxury.

Prosecutor Andrew Mitchell QC said: "It is suggested that Terrence Adams was one of the country's most feared and revered organised criminals.

"He comes with a pedigree, as one of a family whose name had a currency all of its own in the underworld."

He said Adams avoided conviction by "keeping away from the dirty end of the business" and by the early 1990s was so wealthy he was able to retire.

Adams and his wife flew first class around the world, bought expensive jewellery and the couple's daughter was privately educated.

From June 1997 to February 1999, an undercover listening operation was mounted by MI5 at his then home in Finchley.

Adams was charged in May 2003 but had delayed the court case for four years and changed his legal team three times.

"It is obvious that the cost to the taxpayer overall has been colossal and, perhaps, unprecedented," the judge said.

Prosecution costs alone were about 4m, the court was told.

'British Godfather'

Legal costs were still being assessed and a hearing in May would decide how much Adams would be made to contribute.

The judge referred to publicity Adams and his family attracted - some of it referring to Adams as the British Godfather and British Al Capone.

He said it was not up to him to judge its accuracy, only to sentence Adams on the one charge he had admitted.

Joanna Barnes, who is the widow of Adams' murdered financial "lieutenant" Solly Nahome, was fined 5,000 and told to pay 5,000 for forging her dead husband's signature to help Adams.

Crime boss faces long jail term
06 Feb 07 |  London

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