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Former FD of Dragons’ Den star Bannatyne charged with £8m fraud

A FINANCE DIRECTOR who worked for Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne’s group of companies has been charged with fraud and money laundering totalling almost £8m.

Christopher Watson has been charged in relation to alleged fraudulent activity between July 2008 and July 2014. He is accused of electronically transferring money from Bannatyne Group accounts to his own personal accounts and those of his private business interests.

The money was allegedly used to gamble, settle personal debts and to buy and renovate properties, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

CPS specialist lawyer John Werhun said: “The CPS has authorised the police to charge Christopher Watson with fraud by abuse of position of trust, and six counts of money laundering.”

Watson will appear before Newton Aycliffe magistrates court on 24 June.
Founded in 1996 by Duncan Bannatyne, the group owns 66 private members health clubs across the country.

Bannatyne appointed a new finance director at the fitness arm of Bannatyne Group in January following the arrest of Watson.

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