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July 31, 2009

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Royal guard jailed for swindle

A FORMER British royal bodyguard was jailed for six years yesterday for masterminding a 3-million-pound (US$4.95 million) investment scam.

Paul Page, 38, used a bogus property company and "outlandish lies" to con colleagues, family, friends and others out of savings, redundancy cash and pension pay-outs.

He then gambled much of it away, before squandering the rest on his luxury lifestyle and mounting debts, the Press Association reported.

Some victims, including those guarding the Queen, lost six-figure fortunes, their homes and even their marriages, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Page, of Grays, Essex, who joined the police in 1994 and moved to the royal protection branch in 1998, was found guilty of fraud committed between 2003 and 2006.

He had 57 victims, including 20 serving and former royal protection officers at Buckingham and St James' palaces, one of whom, the biggest loser, lost 240,000 pounds.

But he used the trial to make a string of allegations about colleagues.

He claimed officers posed for photographs on the Queen's throne, peddled hardcore pornography and steroids, slept on duty, smuggled friends into royal garden parties and offered them Buckingham Palace parking spaces for West End shopping trips.

Original defence papers, ruled inadmissible by the judge, alleged golfing enthusiast the Duke of York routinely asked members of the elite royal police squad to act as "ball boys."

Page also said victims either knew their money was being invested in spread-betting, or trusted him so much they never bothered to ask what he was going to do with it.


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