Deal for Dordogne fraud victims

Victims of Dordogne conman Graham Templeton thought to have agreed settlement with Société Générale on €2m claim

10 August 2010

SOCIETE Générale is thought to have reached a deal over a €2 million claim by victims of conman Graham Templeton.

The bank’s press office says it is still in negotiations but it is thought to have agreed a deal with lawyers for the group of 16 Dordogne victims to repay a substantial amount of their losses.

While victims are making no comment, a deal is believed to have been agreed although no details are available.

Most recently the bank had offered to pay 85% of the losses but this was rejected out of hand, especially as the bank offered just 75% to the only French victim.

The bank has already admitted its checks failed to spot Templeton’s fraud. He was able to pay money intended for a Société Générale-backed investment fund into his own account by signing the back of the cheques.

The banking loophole that Templeton used is still wide open, more than 11 years after the frauds started, despite efforts by Euro-MPs to get changes made.

In a recent radio interview on Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, Templeton said he was remorseful over what happened but believed that he could have traded his way out of the problem, although he was said to be spending €40,000 a month funding his lifestyle.

Templeton said: “One enjoys a high lifestyle, the luxuries of life. It was very, very enjoyable. I'm not going to say it wasn't; running the chambre d’hote, being in Alistair Sawday's book, receiving guests, I thoroughly enjoyed it and that's why I suppose I got carried away with it.

“I was renovating a house at great expense [Templeton owned a chateau at Coux-et-Bigarroque] and it absorbed more and more money and it ran away with me.

“Committing fraud was very easy.”

He added: “It gives me comfort that I feel they have got their money back or at least a great proportion of it.”

However, sources in the Dordogne hit out saying that one of his first victims, Elizabeth Dickinson, died in poverty without seeing a penny of the €450,000 Templeton took from her to invest in a fund that was allegedly paying 15% interest.

Templeton’s lavish lifestyle extended to having five Aston Martins, a Jaguar XK120 and a luxury yacht moored at Marbella.

He complained after his court case that his chateau had been valued at €1m but was sold by the French taxman for just €350,000 to meet his tax debts.

He now has his own PR agent and is back in the UK after serving five months of his two-year sentence in a Paris jail.

Photo: Graham Templeton
Credit: Patrick Bernard

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