London Colney gang boss says he can’t repay proceeds of crime

The Clock Tower in Napsbury Park

The Clock Tower in Napsbury Park - Credit: Archant

A high-profile criminal has been accused at the High Court of using sham “loans” as a device to feed back to him his own money while he claims he is broke and in debt.

Terry Adams, of London Colney, said that he was too poor to pay back profits from his days of crime and “feels like a ponce” having to live off his “breadwinner” wife Ruth.

The 58-year-old owes £628,497 of a £750,000 confiscation order which was imposed after his conviction at Blackfriars Crown Court in 2007 for conspiring to conceal the proceeds of criminal conduct over a six-year period.

He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £50,000 and the £4.6 million bill for his publicly funded defence.

Mr Adams is currently seeking a court-approved “certificate of inadequacy” to show that he does not have sufficient assets to pay back the money sought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) under the confiscation order.

But the CPS said there was “a strong case” that he had “substantial undisclosed assets”.

Kennedy Talbot, representing the CPS, suggested to Mr Adams at London’s High Court that loans said to have been taken out by his wife because times were hard were not genuine.

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Cross-examining Mr Adams last week he said: “These are not genuine loans at all. This is just your money being routed to you through fabricated arrangements.”

Denying the accusation, Mr Adams replied that he had continued to say, including from the time he had spent in prison, that he had no money.

Mr Adams asked Mr Talbot: “Now we are here and you are saying we have this money I have not got, but how do I prove this to you?”

He told Mrs Justice Nicola Davies he was relying on money from his wife, adding: “I feel like a ponce because there is no money coming in.”

Mrs Adams told the court that, as well as running an interior design business she was an actor - and had recently finished a run in “Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be” at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.

Asked whether he knew about his wife’s interior design business, Mr Adams said he did but she kept it “all away from me”

He added that she knew, “I get frustrated I am not bringing in money. She is the breadwinner, not me and it is difficult for me.”

The CPS said that Mr and Mrs Adams’ average “identifiable” spending in the three years from September 2010-2013 was £97,000 per annum - “nearly four times the national average”.

That type of spending was “inconsistent” with his claim of having no assets and of being reliant on friends and family loans for living expenses, Mr Talbot told the court.

The court heard from the CPS that, for example, Mrs Adams had spent £12,044 on dental treatment and £2,500 on a dietary programme during three months in 2013.

In June 2010 she bought a spa membership at a North London country club for £3,850.

The couple had also spent nearly £15,000 on flights, hotels, restaurants and entertainment from August 2009 to September 2013.

Mr Talbot argued that the evidence showed a pattern of behaviour that was “entirely consistent with the original criminal case against [Mr Adams] of concealing his assets through associates and using sham companies to provide an apparent form of legitimate income”.

Mr Adams has been described in the courts as once heading one of the most feared organised criminal gangs in the UK.

A judge had previously said he had accumulated a “considerable fortune” from his life as “a highly successful career criminal” over a significant period of time.

The civil hearing is continuing.

It is understood that N1 Angel Ltd, Mrs Adams’ clothing label, is registered to a flat at The Clock Tower, Goldring Way, in London Colney.