DAS, £8.63m compensation and Paul Asplin

DAS will receive around £8.3m in compensation from Asplin and the other two defendants found guilty of defrauding the firm at last year’s trial.


Ex-DAS chief executive Paul Asplin will have to pay out £5.29m after last year being found guilty of defrauding his ex-employer.


Sally Jones, Asplin’s ex-wife who was also convicted at the trial last year of defrauding DAS, was at today’s confiscation hearing ordered to pay £1.56m. Ex-DAS claims manager David Kearns, the third defendant found guilty of the fraud, was on Friday ordered to pay £1.44m.


The combined sum of £8.29m will be paid by the three to DAS through a compensation order. This was decided after Judge Martin Beddoe today rejected the claims of Asplin’s defence QC Adrian Waterman that the benefit Asplin was adjudged to have creamed through the fraud did not equate to a loss accrued by DAS.


Judge Beddoe accepted prosecution QC Martin Evans’ figure of £11.23m owed to DAS in compensation, but the legal expenses insurer will only be compensated by the defendants to the sum they have each been deemed able to pay.


Asplin’s total benefit from the fraud was put at £6.91m by Judge Beddoe.


Salary

Asplin, along with Jones and Kearns, were last year found guilty out defrauding DAS between 2000-2014. The fraud involved funneling business to a firm Asplin and Kearns had a financial interest in, called Med Report, which they concealed from DAS.


Today, the arguments centered on whether the DAS salary received by Asplin, amounting to around £3.9m, should be included in the sum to be confiscated from him.


Asplin’s defence QC Adrian Waterman had argued that it was not proportionate to include Asplin’s DAS salary due to the profits he had made for DAS, and that throughout the period Asplin continued to devote his time to running DAS.


“Mr Asplin on any view created significant profit for DAS,” Waterman said. “If one put his interest in Med Report to one side he could hardly have been more regarded by the directors of DAS.


“He made significant profits in a market rapidly changing from premiums to ancillary sources of income. That was the reason for his increase in remuneration year on year.”


DAS “prospering” under Asplin

However, while the judge agreed that Asplin had been a good chief executive of DAS, he said any discount would be of an arbitrary amount, and inappropriate.


“It’s clear I have wrestled with the matter in respect to the salary at DAS,” he said. “In his performance as CEO, DAS did prosper under his leadership. It was in his interest for that to happen.


“There has to be a quantifiable figure to discount. I cannot find there is any firm factual basis for what I have been asked to do.


“I have indicated the fact Mr Asplin did a good job. It was in his interest that DAS did thrive. Had I had a general discretion I would have attempted apportionment.


“I had in my mind around a third. But what is clear is had I a general discretion it would have been plucking a figure out of the air.”


Further, Judge Beddoe referred back to his comments on sentencing last year that Asplin would not have received any salary were the truth of the fraud known by the company’s German directors.


Jones request

A request was also made by Jones’ defence QC Thomas Kark that her salary be discounted, as the fraud accounted to “a small part” of her 14 years working for Med Report. He said the confiscation would leave her on state benefits.


“It’s quite clear the public interest must be considered, including the effect of the confiscation in each case,” Kark said.


But Judge Beddoe also rejected this request.


Asplin and Jones, like Kearns, were given six months to pay the confiscation order.

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