Downfall of Lord Fraud who threw sex parties in King’s Speech mansion with celebrities
- ‘Fast Eddie’ is jailed for eight years for international £4.5million global scam
- He boasted of partying with rich and famous but fleeced socialites
- Court hears he was ‘ringmaster’ who conned 51 victims out of cash
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Lord of the scam: Edward Davenport, who lived in a lavish 110-room mansion in west London, has been jailed for eight years after conning his clients out of millions
A self-styled lord who led the lifestyle of an international playboy and friend to the stars was yesterday unmasked as the ‘ringmaster’ of a £4.5million global fraud.
Edward Davenport charmed the rich and famous, with Kate Moss and Princes William and Harry among the guests of raucous parties at his £30million mansion.
But yesterday the socialite was revealed as a crook after reporting restrictions on his three-month trial were lifted by a judge.
‘Lord Davenport’, 45, whose nickname was Fast Eddie, was jailed for seven years and eight months in September for conning 51 victims, including Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer Elizabeth Emanuel, who lost her life savings.
Davenport cashed in on the credit crunch by offering bogus start-up loans to entrepreneurs desperate for cash.Victims were promised millions of pounds of credit, but were asked to pay for ‘due diligence’ investigations into their companies before they could have the loan.
Davenport and his lieutenants, Peter Riley, 64, and Borge Andersen, 66, pocketed £4.5million in deposits and advance fees but never paid out the promised £2billion in loans to entrepreneurs from as far afield as India, Canada and Dubai.
In May this year Davenport, Riley, and Anderson were convicted of conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court.
Sentencing him, Judge Peter Testar said: ‘Mr Davenport has been described by the prosecution as a ringmaster, which is apt.
‘He got others to do the detailed legwork for him. That’s how he does things – he does not leave many footprints in the snow himself.’
Among those he fleeced was Miss Emanuel, 58.She agreed to surrender 65 per cent of her company in return for a £1.5million investment, but Davenport demanded £20,000 in up-front fees.
She said: ‘He knew I was at rock bottom and he wanted to screw me out of every penny.
‘It was unbelievable that he had made all these contacts and bought a title to give him credibility when he was just a common conman. He fully deserves his sentence.’
Strained: The self-styled socialite arrives at Southwark Crown Court accused of scamming scores of people across the world in business deals, left, while right he looks strained in his police mugshot.
Last month when he was sentenced Davenport looked unfazed, grinning and raising his eyebrows in a suggestive manner at his 25-year-old Thai girlfriend, model Monthira Sanan-ua.
Yesterday he issued a typically arrogant statement, declaring the sentence a ‘setback’, vowing to appeal and asserting his innocence.
His lieutenant, Riley received seven years and eight months, while Andersen was given three years and three months.Two other men, Richard Stephens, 65 and David McHugh, 53, admitted their roles last month.
Reporting restrictions were lifted after the final conspirator David Horsfall, 54, admitted his part. All three will be sentenced next month.
Pools filled with cognac, porn ‘discos’ and an intricate web of lies
Who could fail to be impressed by the website of Lord Edward Davenport?
A scrolling gallery of photographs showed the high-living entrepreneur embracing an astonishing array of A-list celebrities and VIPs.
The blurb beneath detailed impeccable credentials and described him as ‘a true English gentleman’, backed up by a lofty aristocratic title and an impressive looking family tree.
Posh friends: ‘Lord’ Edward Davenport, who made no secret of his lavish lifestyle and often partied with stars like Victoria Beckham, has been revealed as a multi-million pound fraudster
Rock and roll: Davenport was known as ‘Fast Eddie’ for the wild parties he threw at his 110-room mansion in west London where his star-studded guest lists included Kate Moss.
Anyone requiring more convincing need only consider the 45-year-old’s champagne and sports-car lifestyle, his claim to a £100million property portfolio in Britain, Thailand and Monaco, his generous donations to charity, his Savile Row suits and his widely trumpeted connections with royalty.
Even his home in London was steeped in celebrity and intrigue.Kate Moss was filmed clacking down the staircase wearing nothing but stiletto heels and Agent Provocateur underwear; scenes from the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech were filmed there.
No wonder he was able to entice so many guests to swanky parties and launches there, and rub shoulders so slickly with the rich and famous.
But ‘Lord Edward Davenport’ was a crook, a conman, a liar and a cheat.
‘The Dutchess of York’: Davenport often miss-spelt the names of the celebrities he met on his website
Yesterday the true extent of his debauched and extraordinary lifestyle was unmasked.
The chisel-jawed ex-public schoolboy boasted Princes William and Harry among his many guests, was pictured with his arm on the shoulder of Prince Albert of Monaco, and name-dropped connections with all and sundry from Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Cliff Richard to rapper 50 Cent and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.
But the ‘true English gentleman’ was actually the son of a restaurateur – and had crawled his way up the socialite ladder by organising Bacchanalian ‘porn disco’ sex parties behind the stucco façade of his London mansion.
Hard to believe this could be the same person championed on the Edward Davenport website.
It is decorated with the alleged family crest and features glowing testimony (much of it probably written by himself) to ‘one of Britain’s most flamboyant entrepreneurs, a businessman renowned for taking chances and прогнимак living a life of adventure’.
A black and white portrait shows him in a pin-stripe suit and holding a cigar.In other photographs, he stands alongside a galaxy of stars, taken either at his London home or at other locations such as ‘Sir Philip Green’s boat’ (it’s a £32million yacht).
Perhaps the true provenance of the ‘Lord of the Giffords’, to use what he describes as his inherited title, could be gauged from the fact that many of the celebs appearing on his self-congratulatory web page have their names mis-spelt in the captions – such as Jamie Cullen, Patsy Palma, Steve Cogan and Jimmy Cho.‘Her Royal Highness Dutchess’, as she is styled, was actually the Duchess of York.
But still they came. In no particular order – Al Pacino, Arnie Schwarzenegger, Jeremy Irons, Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightly (sic) Paris Hilton, Simon Cowell and Victoria Beckham find themselves partnered with Davenport.
The Davenport property doubled as the set of speech therapist Lionel Logue’s clinic in the King’s Speech, where King George VI, played by Colin Firth, learned to overcome his stammer.
Life in the fast lane: Edward Davenport, pictured with Mick Jagger, once reportedly filled his swimming pool with Cognac so his party-goers could row in it
But there was a warning in his nickname – Fast Eddie.It was also the nickname of the pool-hall shark portrayed by Paul Newman in the 1961 movie The Hustler.
Few who heard details of Davenport’s frauds would have failed to make the connection.
Born Edward Ormus Sharington Davenport in London on July 11, 1966, he was educated at Frensham Heights, a private school in Surrey which counts among its alumni Doctor Who actor Jon Pertwee and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
By 15, according to his account, he was selling clothes on Portobello Market before going to the exclusive Cambridge crammer college, Mander Portman Woodward.
Social status: Davenport was well-known on the international party circuit, making friends like Paris Hilton
Four years later he moved into the party-planning business and was responsible for the raunchy Gatecrasher Balls of the 1980s, throwing events for public school students at country houses.
They scandalised well-to-do parents but earned Davenport a reputation as a daredevil jet-setter, reinforced by the web of lies he constantly spun around his image.
Did he own a private jet?He certainly told people he did. Was he truly on Monaco’s Rich List? The link on his web site failed to connect to it yesterday. Did he actually own four Rolls Royce Phantoms? A fawning letter bearing the car company’s logo suggested, on the face of it, that he did.
Davenport’s Gatecrasher business didn’t last long.His firm went bust after he was sentenced to nine months for VAT evasion in 1990.
Perhaps things might have been different had he not served only six days before his sentence was suspended on appeal. It allowed Davenport to reinvent himself, this time as a property magnate.
His most spectacular purchase was 33 Portland Place, the elegant mansion that previously housed the Sierra Leone High Commission. Davenport got the lease for a mere £50,000 when the African country was in the throes of a coup.The purchase was the subject of two BBC investigations which claimed Davenport ran a pub-leasing racket.
The address became a venue for wild, celebrity-packed bashes, film and photo shoots. Reports that it also hosted high-class orgies, porn films and swingers’ parties are now part of the mansion’s legacy, or at least its legend.
At one party there in December 2009 a swimming pool was turned into a ‘gigantic punchbowl’ by filling it with 1,000 litres of cognac.
More recently Davenport faced legal proceedings from Westminster City Council for hiring the house out for pole-dancing lessons, a masquerade ball and ‘porn disco’. It was also the venue for a commercial sex party where guests were charged £90 on arrival.
But there is more to Davenport than a series of parties and celebrity associations, apparently.
Film set: Davenport’s mansion in West London, which was once the Embassy of Sierra Leone, was used as a location to film The King’s Speech starring, from left, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter
Jet-set lifestyle: Davenport, who reportedly made his first million in his teens throwing parties for the young and rich, once lived at hotel L’Hermitage in Monte Carlo
Take this glowing tribute attributed to a friend, whom he names as Jenny Sutcliffe: ‘Eddie will always take you for a night out and be damned if you pay for anything,’ the model is quoted as saying.‘He’s got fantastic manners. He’ll never take a telephone call while he’s eating; he’ll never get up in the middle of a meal or shout across the table. He can talk to anyone and just be Eddie… he has an amazing sense of humour.’
The scam that has finally landed him in jail was conducted through a near worthless company he bought in 2005.He named it Gresham – mimicking the name of a famous City financial institution to lend it an air of respectability.
Davenport also used the fake name James Stewart whenever he needed to involve himself directly in the business.
He was caught when fire regulators, doing a routine check on his business premises, saw photographs on his website of the man they knew as ‘Mr Stewart’ marked as Edward Davenport.They informed the Serious Fraud Office.
He plans to appeal, so he has plenty of time to reflect on the irony of one of the statements on his website.
It says: ‘Davenport goes to extremes to ensure he is scrupulously fair in all his dealings…but accepts that in business one cannot always be friends with everyone because someone has to win and someone has to lose.’
This time, it seems, the loser is Fast Eddie.
‘FAST FREDDIE’S’ SCAM WAS ‘REALLY WELL PLANNED AND EXECUTED‘
Ripped off: Elizabeth Emanuel said Davenport did not care whether he was scamming a corporation or a huge or small business
Among the many victims Edward Davenport fleeced was Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer Elizabeth Emanuel.
The designer earned worldwide fame when Diana married the Prince of Wales in 1981 – but due to a legal battle in the 1990s lost the right to use her trademark name, and therefore a way of raising finance.
In 2008 she turned to ‘Fast Eddie’ in the hope of raising £1 million to develop her business, Art of Being.
Davenport initially wanted her to pay £20,000 for his firm, Gresham, to complete due diligence.
The designer was then told he would knock off £10,000 from the sum and he eventually took £5,000 from her.
Today, the 58-year-old welcomed Davenport’s jailing.She said: ‘I think justice has been served.’It is dreadful. I was one among many and the amount I lost was nothing compared to everybody else but he was happy to take my £5,000.
‘It sums up the sort of person he is.
‘He doesn’t care whether he is scamming a big company or a tiny organisation.’It was really well planned and really well executed.
‘He spun me on for months and months.
‘When I first met him, he said it would take a few weeks to raise about £1 million.
‘But they kept this going for a long time and I didn’t approach anyone else, so much time was wasted.
‘As well as the money he cost me it was all the effort, the hanging around waiting when I could have explored other avenues.
‘It put me in a really bad situation – it was very stressful and horrific to feel you’ve been ripped off.
‘I hope people get their money back.’