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Ernest Saunders Lodging Appeal Against Sentence in Guinness Trial

September 21, 1990

LONDON (AP) _ Ernest Saunders, former chairman of Guinness PLC, and stockbroker Anthony Parnes will appeal their convictions for fraudulently engineering Guinness’ takeover of a Scottish distiller, lawyers said Friday.

Last month Saunders, 54, was sentenced to five years in prison and Parnes, 44, to 2 1.2 years, for their parts in a scheme to boost Guinness stock during the company’s $5.26 billion takeover of Distillers Ltd. in 1986.

Lawyers for the wealthy businessman Gerald Ronson, sentenced with them, said Friday he was also considering an appeal.

Ronson, 51, head of Heron International PLC, was jailed for a year and fined $9.2 million, the largest fine in British history, for his involvement in the affair.

A fourth man convicted, financier Sir Jack Lyons, 74, was freed on bail so he could undergo surgery. He was to be sentenced Tuesday.

The jury found the four had secretly and illegally rigged the stock market to inflate the price of Guinness stock when the company successfully battled the Argyll supermarket chain for control of Distillers, a whisky and gin manufacturer.

A spokesman for Saunders’ Manchester lawyers said Friday that notice of appeal has been lodged with the Court of Appeal in London.

The spokesman, speaking anonymously, said he hoped the hearing will be held before the end of the year.

A spokesman for Parnes’ London lawyers, also speaking anonymously, confirmed Parnes also planned to appeal.

Ronson’s London lawyers said he was ″considering an appeal.″

Saunders and three other Britons will stand trial later this year on further charges arising from the Guinness affair.

The affair revealed the dark side of the takeover craze that swept Britain in the 1980s. It symbolized an era of greed akin to the insider trading scandal that rocked Wall Street at the same time.

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