£76m fraudster back at subprime firm here

One of Britain’s biggest tax fraudsters is out of jail and back working for a subprime mortgage company he established here 16 years ago.

Ian Andrews, aged 59, was convicted in 2005 of a complex corporate fraud[/url] that cost UK tax authorities £76m. He was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison but this was reduced on appeal.

Before conviction his name was Ian Andrew Leaf and he became wealthy through a variety of businesses. He had enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in Switzerland and was orchestrating his tax scam using fictitious documents from a bank registered in the Pacific island of Nauru.

Andrews was the focus of a seven-year tax investigation and subsequent extradition battle.

After completing his jail sentence, Leaf changed his name ===and is again working for the [url=https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/603972-home-funding-b1-2011.html]Home Funding Corporation Ltd, which has at least 40 subprime Irish mortgages on its books.

It appears to have specialised in acquiring high-interest loans originally taken by farmers. Its total loan book in 2011 was valued at €17.7m, with a €12m bad debt provision.

Home Funding Corp was established by Andrews in 1997. It acquired a number of mortgages from subprime firms Wise Mortgage Company Ltd and Wise Finance Company Ltd. These were run by Leitrim-based American Ronald Weisz. In 1995, Mr Weisz pleaded guilty to a fraud offence in New York.

Mr Weisz has not been involved with Home Funding Corp for at least 10 years. However, he and his companies are co-defendants in a number of cases taken to the High Court by borrowers involving loans held by Home Funding Corp.

Mr Weisz said he helped Andrews set up his business and sold loans to him but was not involved in his tax dodging scheme.

Home Funding Corp is run by directors Richard Ashken, 60, and Sophie Leighton, 23, through UK parent City Corporation.

Ms Leighton has also been a director of at least two companies set up and owned by Andrews since his release, including Eunoia Ltd, which Andrews took over with his original name.

Until last month Andrews’ consultancy companies were based out of the same address on Waterloo Rd, London, as City Corporation.

Mr Ashken said Andrews was working as a consultant for Home Funding Corp but did not have a stake in it.

When contacted with queries relating to Home Funding Corp, Andrews said any questions should be directed to Mr Ashken and that a person by the name of Ian Leaf did not exist.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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