Fraud suspect freed on timing technicality

The director of the fundraising agency Solutions RMC, which is at the centre of an alleged fundraising scandal, has walked free from court on a technicality.

Tony Freeman, 38, was last year arrested and charged with defrauding two cancer charities of more than £700,000 through his fundraising company.

Breast Cancer Relief in Manchester and Breast Cancer Research (Scotland) subsequently had their bank accounts frozen, and Freeman was suspended from fundraising by a Court of Session judge in Scotland.

He was due to attend a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh last week on fraud charges. But the case fell apart after he successfully argued last month that the court date set by the Crown fell a day outside an 11-month time limit for bringing the case - set when he appeared at Paisley Sheriff court last year.

Freeman, of Newlands, Glasgow, had been charged with setting up a bogus software agreement and billing charities for the deal, which he claimed had incurred expenses of £719,291.

He was then alleged to have transferred sums of £268,953 and £450,337 from Solutions' bank account in Glasgow to an offshore account in Cyprus.

The Crown Office, Scotland's independent public prosecution service, said it had appealed against the time technicality last week. It was awaiting a written verdict on the appeal as Third Sector went to press.

If the appeal is turned down, the case could still be brought before the Sheriff Court as no prosecution has been completed.

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