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PRISON LOOMS FOR FORMER NORTON SUPREMO

Erstwhile Norton Motorcycles owner Stuart Garner pleaded guilty to  three separate employer-related investment offences under section 40(5) of the Pensions Act 1995, in a brief hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on 7 February.

Garner had admitted to taking up to £14m from three pension schemes he controlled as sole trustee, which was then illegally invested in his Norton business. These funds, belonging to 227 scheme members, were effectively lost when Norton went bust in January 2020.

District Judge Jonathan Taaffe told Garner that: “It was a conflict of interest involving substantial amounts. This clearly crosses the custodial threshold.” The judge therefore sent his case to Derby Crown Court, where evidence as to the severity of his crimes will be reviewed and Garner sentenced. For the time being, he remains on unconditional bail.

Commenting on the verdict, Nicola Parish, executive director of frontline regulation at The Pensions Regulator, said: “As a trustee, Stuart Garner failed to comply with restrictions on investments which are designed to protect the funds of pension schemes. Trustees have a vital role in protecting the benefits of members and we will take action where that responsibility is abused.”

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