Feeds

Cybersleuths track Dame Porter’s millions

Computer forensics finger Westminster wedge

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Computer forensics played an important role in Westminster City Council’s fight to recover the £36m surcharge imposed on Dame Shirley Porter for her role in the 1980s ‘homes for votes’ scandal, it emerged this week.

Evidence unearthed by forensics experts at Vogon International helped city law firm Stephenson Harwood in tracking Dame Porter’s assets. The case ended successfully for Westminster City Council when a £12m mediated agreement was reached, which was paid on 1 July 2004.

As leader of Westminster Council in the 80s, Dame Porter had played a key role in a scheme that squandered millions of pounds by selling off council homes in marginal wards to potential Tory voters at knock down prices as part of a policy called “building stable communities”. After condemning her for ‘political corruption’, the House of Lords ordered the Tesco heiress to pay a surcharge of £36m for her involvement in the scheme. Dame Porter subsequently pleaded poverty. She claimed she that assets of just £300,000 despite being said to have once been the 20th richest woman in Europe, with a fortune in the region of £70m.

Vogon became involved last year when Westminster City Council obtained third party disclosure orders against companies and individuals in the UK connected with the scandal. Martin Gibbs, senior computer investigator at Vogon, explained: “Vogon investigators took complete images of the hard disks contained in various computers, which were then processed, and forensic recovery techniques were used to analyse deleted files. This provided important evidence for Westminster.” Julia Mowbray, commercial litigator at Stephenson Harwood, said: “The forensic computing techniques were useful aids in this international asset tracing exercise and turned up important evidence. They can have a significant impact in investigations of this kind.”

Although most commonly associated with Internet pornography cases, computer forensics has also been applied by Vogon in a variety of civil and criminal cases including electronic disclosure, email abuse, fraud and intellectual property theft. ®

Related stories

Forensic computing uncloaks industrial espionage
Suspected paedophile cleared by computer forensics
Court slams Vogon for overbilling Serious Fraud Office
EU develops cyber crime forensics standards
Traces of Guilt: computer crime from the front line

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.