A businessman faces a lengthy prison sentence after been found guilty of being part of a £7m money laundering operation.
Gareth Child, 38, of Caerphilly Road, Cardiff, once a Llandaff child chorister and a former civil servant, had denied being involved in sending vast sums of cash to banks abroad and had been on bail pending the outcome of his case.
But he was convicted today following a two-week trial at Cardiff Crown Court and immediately had his bail withdrawn.
His lawyers pleaded for him to have his freedom to “put his affairs in order” before he goes behind bars
But remanding him in custody until June, Judge Patrick Curran QC said “He has plenty of time to do that. There is no question of bail now. He faces a very lengthy sentence.”
A second man accused with him, Geoffrey Wildy, 69, of Llanharan, Pontyclun, was cleared of three charges of money laundering. which he had faced.
He admitted receiving £58,000 when £1.3m belonging to Westland Helicoptors in Somerset was paid into an account operated by him at the NatWest bank in Bridgend.
But Mr Wildy told the court he thought he was entering into a legitimate business deal after being introduced to Child at Bully’s Restaurant in Llandaff in 2009.
He also said his details had been hijacked by someone in Denmark and he took steps to close a business he ran.
He said Child told him large amounts would be paid into his account as part of their arrangement but he was shocked when more than £1m arrived.
“I had no suspicion about the money or Mr Child and I took my agreed 5% commission,” he told the jury.
Child, who once ran sport-related businesses with his late brother, said he too believed he was entering into legal deals and was an innocent who unwittingly swam into shark infested waters.
But Judge Curran revealed to the jurors following their verdicts that Child had originally pleaded guilty before changing his plea and running a trial.
Child was found guilty of five charges of money laundering and one of fraud involving the transfer of £756,000 from the Bank of Ireland, where a manager became suspicious.
He telephoned Child, who claimed other people had been using his account to commit fraud.
The money laundering offences involved, in addition to Westland’s £1.3m, the transfer of more than £6m of criminal money from the UK to Scandinavian banks.
Another £60,000, the proceeds of a VAT fraud, was sent to Gibraltar and a similar amount was allowed to enter his bank account following a mortgage fraud on a house in Birmingham when a deal was done on the property without the owners’ knowledge while they were on holiday.
The trial heard how, at one stage, more than £200,000 was withdrawn in cash by Child from Cardiff banks over a two-week period.
Some £300,000 was also sent to a bank in Sierra Leone.
One witness described Child as something of a fantasist who was full of ideas and always coming up with schemes, including plans for financing sports stars from abroad.
In his defence it was said he had made no attempt to conceal his identity when money was transferred and that he was used by others more sophisticated while “blinded by his own ambition” and “dazzled by opportunity”.
Prosecutor Roger Griffiths had told the jury: “All agree this money was criminal property and that these two men moved it around. The only issue is whether they knew or suspected.”