Tag Archives: wills and co

Kweku Adoboli / UBS/ The week review

23 Nov

UBS weak link Kweku Adoboli, saw himself star down the barrel of a 7 stretch this week in a dock once graced by I, at Southwark Crown Court.

Having already served over  a year of his sentence, he must now while away another 2 and a half years, although come the summer he will be allowed to begin home and town leaves. Quite how devious or truly criminal he is, is a topic that has been left in the calm, hysteria free hands of the  The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Mail.

For many outside of the City of London, this was one of a number of obvious calamities still being committed by the arrogant swaggering bowler hat types.

Is Kweku really a criminal in the true caricature style we associate them with? His swag bag seemed a little empty for a man who is accused of a £1.4 billion fraud; for this isn’t a fraud with the intention to steal £1.4 billion, merely corporate financial manslaughter, where a sledgehammer was being used to crack nuts. What does 7 years buy you in other walks of life?

7 years is the average total sentence of Rapists in the UK.

7 years allows you to kill a man driving dangerously with intent.

7 years allows you to stab a man in the neck with a bottle for GBH.

Kweku will serve 7 years for doing his job badly in an environment where blind eyes were turned when the money came in.

Perhaps those blind eyes should too be punished, for creating the conditions and culture where deceit, and smokes and mirrors are employed.

As is likely, UBS will see no more criminal imprisonments amongst their staff. They will pay large fines and duck down below the parapet again for a number of years, before the next cataclysmic economic asteroid rocks the financial capitals of the World; where they hope their mistakes are the least and they can join the queue without making regulatory eye contact.

In the meantime Kweku will don the green trousers of a prison orderly, tamed –  for now.

I walk the streets of London once again, but these days my attire is a little more blue collar. My hands have paint and the callouses upon my palms are no more a Cityboy’s than they are a writer’s. Time moves every bit as fast once more, I wish I had some time to stop and reflect upon my life. A one year sabbatical seems a nice idea again 🙂

 

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The Diary Ebook – Amazon Release : Prison Diary of a Stockbroker

19 Nov

For those who fancy reading the prison diary ebook, it is now available on Amazon Kindle at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Banker-Bang-Up-ebook/dp/B00A9VGUP4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353365555&sr=8-1

There are a few bits extra forming an expanded foreword.

I shall be penning more on the life of the young broker in the New Year, I hope it is as well read as the prison blog. Thank you for all your feedback and comments and continue to welcome communication from those seeking advice.

Buy the Amazon Version of the prison diary

The End of Time

11 Jun

My names on the board for release…I’m told by Paul, an Orderly for the Offender Management  Unit.

 

“When’s your release date?” He asks.

 

“Monday” I tell him.

 

“Well you’ll only be a couple of days after that at worse – you just need another Governor’s signature”

 

Oh great and there’s me worrying I won’t get out on time.

To think the only thing stopping me from being released and going home to my family, is a member of staff writing their name.

 

Before leaving Ford, I decide to tie up some loose ends and make an appointment to see the Dentist after a knock to my face sees me with a loose tooth. Not something I’ve experienced since my childhood and I doubt tooth fairies get through reception here.

 

I try to book an emergency Dental appointment, but I get to see neither a Doctor nor a Dentist – I get a ‘Gordon’. Who or what a Gordon is I am unsure precisely, but I suspect he is little more than an eminently qualified hospital porter who just happens to have lived a life of wide-ranging bizarre and medically interesting episodes. In reality he is a filter for those seeking to waste the time of Healthcare and perhaps opt out of work for the day, but for a week of free treatment remaining I can do without this avenue. Unsurprisingly, he has no valid input for me regarding my dental concerns, as you would expect of a man no more a Dr, than David Tennant. I take two paracetamol; call home and book an appointment with my local surgery.

 

A week flicks by and George has set off on his first home leave. He has secured a single cell and I await my final day in prison. I’ve kept up with my writing and R and I are as strong as ever. Regular visits, time together and a devotion to the simple somewhat forgotten pleasure of a handwritten note have done us proud.

 

Written September 20 – 2011

“I love you.

My love diminishes nothing, yet reaffirms itself everyday.

And everyday I only know one thing for sure – you are exactly right for me.

Only you can be my complete companion.

How I miss you and how it’s hurt.

It feels so long this time apart but its medicated in the knowledge that thee WILL be a time I can sit by your side, hold your hand and look you in the eye.

Then I shall say to you, the next time I leave you for so long, throw a single rose upon my coffin – because I shall be yours’ for life.”

………………………………………..

Today is the day I had expected to step out the front gate – alas the celebration has been delayed by a day. I can cope and am busied by doing my ‘paperchase’. That elusive administrative milestone that I too now look upon as a right of passage. My kit returned, I do my goodbyes.

 

Spending time with some of the faces whose company I’ve genuinely enjoyed, I finish my evening doing one final prison workout with my buddy Jamie. Little more than 12 hours from release, I finish my sentence in the way I began it. A pen in hand, I write away the hours. I’m pleased I’ve logged and diarised my every day. I wonder if I will look back over this some time in the future. Maybe a lonely old man sat in a musty, dusty lounge, I shall occupy my time by reading this again. I wonder if I shall reach the last passage before the end truly arrives. I wonder how different my life will be and what will I think to the time I spent away. Will it matter, will it impact, or will it be another little adventure in a life filled with stories?

For the last evening, a prisoner in an HMP, I am offender A2292CE, The Disgraced Banker. Tomorrow my life starts again………..

New Year’s Eve Party in Prison

9 Jun

Today HMP Ford becomes a Bang-Up again. I and other’s here experience closed conditions for what I hope is only 24 hours. The bosses at Ford have had a perimeter fence laid out inside the main boundary fence. Like a camp within a camp. Side gates have been locked and the Front Entry Gates drawn to a close. Ford Prison has been locked down – a repeat of last year’s Booze fueled arson rampage is feared.

I spot all of the Governor’s at some stage today. Any disturbances and the Senior Governor will be starting 2012 with P45 in hand. In fact, it surprised many that she survived the last episode here.

I spend my day bring the New Year in blowing my nose – my cold I picked up at Christmas has not yet gone, although my stock of tissues is close to being so.

If I’m honest, I’ve never really enjoyed New Year’s Eve, too much of an anti-climax for me. Still at least I can be sure prison will not be on my mind in 12 months hence. Missing the parties associated with today doesn’t make me feel low, I’ll probably grab an early night. This is NOT a sign of things to come 🙂 Tomorrow, I can say the words:

“I’m home this month”

Channel 4 has slapped on a cheery portion of:

Porridge – The Movie

The Deputy Governor, sticks his nose around the door, part of their visible presence strategy (In most other places, that’s called turning up for work), his sidekick pops in shortly after. We share a joke about the Porridge Movie, he says he’s glad it’s not on; he is the spitting image of Mr Mckay. Better still, his name is Roger Moore; it’s possibly why I like him. A press journalist from the Sun, sneaked into the prison last year – not a hard feat when you never see Screws; Mr McKay notes that this active Governor strategy may be just in case one has popped in to visit again.

Nothing else happens, except for the distant sounds of fireworks and parties in the local area. The prison carries on as normal.

 

NEW YEAR 2012

The home straight, I’m going home this month!

I start the new year in the gym, taking part in a circuit session run by an inmate who works in the PE Dept. A boxing fan like I, his circuits are a tough challenge and later in the day, takes me for a Pads session, with some focus mitts that have been snuck in by a now departed resident. With the prison on lockdown, the visit sessions are used for extra gym time. A decent compromise, when there is little else to do but lay in my bed. I look on at the calendar for quite  a time. A long time actually. A bit more than 4 weeks to go, I hope these days fly by.

Then life can start again.

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

51/2 months down, more than 6 since I’ve seen her last. I wake up nervous, my stomach filled with butterflies, today is the day I’ve dreamed of.

I keep myself occupied with a visit to the gym, setting  a new 30 minute distance row PB, 7631m. I see myself making improvements in personal fitness, it means my time here is not entirely a waste.

I have little appetite as my mind is focused on a date with destiny. I wonder where she will be sat, will she find it okay? What will she be wearing? What will we talk about? Will she cry? Will I cry?

So many thoughts drift, well, race across my mind as the minutes tick by.

I kill the hour before the visit deciding what to wear, showering and making sure I look as good as a man can whilst being in prison. I fear she will see something less than she has in me, in visiting me today. For the first time, a sense of shame crosses me as I think about my whereabouts. She is this travelled, articulate, intelligent and unique creature. Special in so many ways. I am a prisoner, stripped of liberty and often times dignity.

She tasted foods until recently from the magical east and the Orient; I queue up for mine with a plastic bowl. I know my worries are likely ill-founded, R would love me still even if I wore orange overalls today. It’s her best quality of all. She makes Mase feel young and wanted; she get’s my humour and inspires creativity within me, when other’s have only stifled it. My feet are shuffling and my knees are bouncing. I can;t take my mind off my anxieties: “Why am I so nervous?” I tell a friend who knows about my visit.

“MASON” is called out by a screw on duty, I scamper off to the visit’s hall so I am as near to the front as possible. I don’t want to lose a minute with this girl who waits for me.

As I walk through the door to the side of the hall, I am patted down by a guard and then look ahead of me.

Slightly to my side, my eyes lock on to the most beautiful sight, I can’t believe what I can see. It has been so long and yet I see nothing but the very best of that person I said goodbye to at the airport all those months ago. More beautiful than ever, tanned, lithe and running toward me at a concerning pace. She flies into my arms and wraps herself around me. It is all I can do to keep myself on my feet. In that moment of power blessed with her affection, she crashed into me and holds me close; as I hold her the same.

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

I feel every emotion that equates to happiness. Today is marked down as one of the happiest days of my life.

When you have nothing but emotion, no material obstructions and no insincerity, you can find  a piece of true beauty, true euphoria that even drugs cannot deliver. In losing my freedom, I have tasted what it is to truly feel liberty. You may never envy my location, my whereabouts, my happenings and my failings but I will never envy your lives if I could go a lifetime without an experience that I shared with her today.

I spend the next two hours, nervous, giggling and an inch from the prettiest nose on earth. Tomorrow she comes again, I’ll sleep like a child waiting for Santa.

Life in Prison

28 May

So today is 3 months since I was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court and it feels like a good deal longer. Life is not tough, though a little boring at times, still, I can exercise each day, read the papers/books and have  a laugh. It’s just that I can think of more constructive things I could do with my time. I’ve seen a lot in my time inside and experienced such a spread of diverse peoples, a range perhaps I shall not see in my life had I not been “Behind the Door”.

I’m entering a writing competition with the literary class, I spend a bit of time today, completing my entry. I also am introduced for the first time to ‘Speed Solitaire’. A variation on conventional computer solitaire, using the one card draw method; by two inmates in the Education Department and who use my office, who are counting down the days until their release.

**BAD NEWS**

I’ve run out of visits and am likely to have sunday’s visit with my sister knocked back. How irritating that the most efficient system, in fact possibly the only efficient system is the visits booking schedule. I do still have an ‘Emergency Visit Order’, I am waiting to hear that it is still valid. The prison has cracked down on abuse of the system of late after complaints made by some inmates who missed out on visit slots. I’d sympathise with these grasses if I didn’t already know these same people were the type to be so badly organised that they have left something as important as arranging a visit with ‘loved ones’ to the last minute.

I speak to R finally and things seem okay, it’s a weight off my mind. She lets slip a surprise that she may be home earlier than expected. I’m thinking she probably had to do this just to appease me, like a spoilt child. Back in the kitchen, someone has stolen our worktop and our wheely bin. The residents of G2 are fuming at this inconsiderate action. Rather than ask prison estates to replace items, aggrieved inmates just nick someone else’s. To demonstrate the intelligence of those that dwell here, the billet stereo was left plugged in and put on the wet sink top. Perhaps this says more about the lack of training in practical skills than in the lack of common sense present. Who nicks a bin?

Tonight in the gym I train without my Ford Mr Fix It; the last time I saw him today he was off to pick up 10 bottles of Vodka. I think the worse when he doesn’t show up for training, With his release dates approaching its not like him to miss training. I needn’t have worried though, he falls into my cell stinking of booze to borrow some pegs for his washing after evening roll call. With only weeks to go until his release an ineligible for tag, any nickings of adjudications he picks up now will have little or no effect on his release date as he will be gone before they are sat before a judge. He therefore cares little about bending rules in his final days. He is a funny fella despite his criminal temerity and I enjoy hanging about with him. I like knowing how the real prison works and he can be assured I am very good at keeping mum; it’s why I’m here.

 

Lord Taylor of Warwick Part 2

27 May

A hurricane is a brewing – I use this as an ideal opportunity to dry some clothes outside. On the flipside it could also be a terrible time to do so but I’ll take my chances.

On the news, I hear Lord Taylor of Warwick the Tory Lord jailed for expenses fraud has been given his electronic tag to observe a Home Detention Curfew. To the lay person, this means being released on tag. He will have to observe strict curfews or face being recalled to prison. Today is the 3 month point of my own sentence. Had I only received a year I too would be out today. I didn’t, so I’m not.

Anyone with a sentence between 6 months and 4 years is eligible for early release on tag. This means in the best case scenario an inmate can spend up to four and  a half months doing the remainder of their bird at home. This is providing they have a home to go to, are wanted their and not deemed a danger to the community. Importantly, it clears up bedspaces in our crowded system and makes for  a cheap solution to containment.

Lord Taylor’s first priority was to do some work for penal reform charities on his release:

“If anyone listens to me” He says.

It’s a strange turn of events when a member of the ruling elite need to be disgraced to better understand the plight of the contemporary mass and become more in tune with society. Sadly it also becomes that bit harder to be listened to when you find yourself in such a situation. He aims to see inmates categorised while in the court cells after sentencing. The burden this will ultimately relieve on strained resources would be of untold value. After sentencing, the 5 hours plus sat on a wooden bench in an empty space could be more efficiently used by HM Courts and save having to send sane non violent offenders on a prison merry-go-round just to have them wind up at the correct nick weeks later than need be. George is a case in point. I get the impression that a good deal of problems in the UK Prison system could be eradicated if better use of the money alloted was made.

I busy myself in the education office reminding inmates of the importance of manners when they demand I put their names down for the Education Gym session – many of whom are ineligible anyway. It falls on deaf ears, coincidentally I tend to forget to write their names down too, at just about the same time.

I can’t help but think of R, she sent me 5 emails today, I worry I’m being harsh. I have continued to write to her, I just haven’t sent the letters. I need my outlet, my writing keeps me occupied and it helps me vent the thoughts I don’t feel comfortable telling those around me here.

Today I am halfway to home leave.

 

 

Prison’s Mr Fix It

25 May

I learn about the trading systems in prison today. My gym buddy is also Ford’s product hub. The ‘Go to Guy’ as it were. It’s interesting to see how it works, I’m more absorbed by prisoners such as this who have no concern if they get shipped out to a Bang-Up. They have sources in those too and many of the ‘smarter’ ones have contingencies already prepared. My pal is one such individual.

The prison estimates it mates millions of poppies each year for the ‘British Legion’; I didn’t believe it until today. I’m amazed by some people’s ability to switch off and perform mind numbingly repetitive tasks. It’s been a contentious issue for George and I, so after a satirical discourse I decide to venture over and put the matter to rest. We ask what the average man’s output is and multiply it by the number of inmates working in this department. We put a final figure at 2.25 million each year.

Spence was released this morning, I have a new cellmate and it’s not for the first time I share a small space with George.

…………………………….

I have my first issue with my partner since we have been separated. I miss her desperately and I know she feels the same. I get a letter that is down in the dumps, unsure of what she shall do on her return to the UK, I panic as I sense the first crack in what I know to be something strong. An email comes with it too, but I can’t bare to read it. I should have done, I pen her a one sided letter, make a decision not to call her and tell her that perhaps she shouldn’t contact me again. I don’t want a Dear John letter and I don’t want to face heartbreak.

This is how it’s left. I’m gutted.

For a few days matters remain the same and then I read the emails. I should have read the emails before I’d written to her. I call her immediately, everything’s rosy again. This is prison for you; communication being what it is here: hard, maintaining any semblance of rationality in what are otherwise minor relationship matters can be very taxing. I hear one prisoner yell down the phone at his wife each day; others whine to their parents, more still plead with ex girlfriends – flying off the handle is as everyday as having breakfast.

A bi-polar day splits into it’s brighter alter ego: Talksport’s Chris Davies visits the prison writing class and partakes in story telling as well as lighthearted encouragement. Cake and coffee on hand, this is a fine way to spend an afternoon in prison. I win a book, ex Spurs’ man and onetime racehorse owner, Alan Brazil has signed it.

Ironically it was the flogging of shares in Alan Brazil Leisure by Will’s and Co Stockbrokers, that heralded the beginnings of my career in Penny Share Broking and my route to destruction that sees me here. The company itself was a spectacular fail of an investment but yielded great sales commission to the brokers that pushed it onto largely mis-sold private investors. The brokers, Wills and Co, formerly of Bristol and Horsham, later of London; headed by Peter Shakeshaft and Robert Holgate was a hive of iniquity, debauchery and deceit.

From investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, adultery, embezzlement, punch-ups, drugs in the toilets to being forced to stand until we had sold some high commission stock that would later collapse.

Shakeshaft himself an ex Police Cadet, though you’d never know if he didn’t discuss it so frequently; would go on to make a killing on establishing and promoting a stock called Silicon Valley PLC.

Remember the tech boom in the late 90s?

You’ve heard of Silicon Valley right? (The broker’s asked their investing clients)

Well this company is called Silicon Valley….. (Frantic Buying Ensues)

The shares rose and rose as investors piled in to get involved in the hype, even those not pitched to by Wills and Co were buying shares. Internet searches on Silicon Valley would yield this company immediately. The stock made people like Peter Shakeshaft fortunes, millions even.

The business started in a bedroom and never really got far beyond that level. Shares being promoted for a £1 say, would be made available to the brokers for much less. It’s legitimate deception and goes on today still.

Back to the ‘Valley’ and allegedly Shakshaft has a boat by now named after this stock…Silicon Valley

Then…

The bubble bursts.

People got out as fast as they got in. Silicon Valley PLC was not Silicon Valley. Foolish was he that followed the herd. Those left holding the baby ended with nothing but losses.

And here’s me, sat on a balmy afternoon in prison; holding in my hand a book whose signatory shares a local and possibly much more besides with the men who set me on this merry path.

I, who was sold a lie and sold stories of corporate opportunity.

Many men tell the same tale with nothing but false dawns and twisted morality on a CV that lacks the substance their dreams aspired to. Now, I am moving on and they scrabble for income in a world selling the next pile of steaming crap; land, wine and carbon credits.

Cash Poor, they’re asset poor and they too are heading toward the same type of retirement as those men they bankrupt now. Irony

 

That cosy feeling of being inside in the rain

23 May

You know that cosy feeling you get when you’re inside a tinny roofed structure and you can hear the sound of the rain beating an orchestra of drums? In a car, on the bus, the train or in fact anywhere warmer and drier than the surrounding environment. I get that here as I lay in my bunk and see the rain hammer it outside. The gutters overflowing with the workmanship of the unskilled labour that mend them and thin echoing hallways that amplify the noise of the world at work. The night’s have begun to draw in now as the weather turns and the Summer draws to a close.

With all of the footflow of idle shufflers occupying their time with as little output as possible, I wonder what life is like here as the weather turns and inmates are resigned to being forced back into their cells. The winter imprisons many more people than just prisoners. I think of my own Nan, imprisoned by age, bad weather and immobility, spare a thought for your own family, my life choices put me in here but for every person in prison there are millions of people caged on the outside too.

Each day at around 10am, I do the education department’s mail run. It requires me to run across the public right of way and head over to the other side of the prison estate to drop off and pick up correspondence. As I left the residential side I stop and talk to Tom an inmate I’ve known for a while. He is off on his home leave today and is looking forward to 5 days away from Ford and away from prison regime, as I go through the gate, I spy his designated driver – it’s one of my best mates. It’s heartbreaking to not be allowed to stop and talk to him without suspicion. I don’t know what the rules are re: ‘fraternising’ with outsiders, I’ve never been told; but for fear of incurring the wrath of Screws I keep my distance and look on like a bad friend. Not being eligible for leave for another 3 months, it does strike me with a pang of jealousy seeing the queue of jolly day-trippers dressed up ready for departure by the gate; I deal with it knowing my time will come round and others will feel the same toward me.

I put in a complaint today to the IMB – the independant monitoring board over the shining of torches in the faces of sleeping inmates at night time. We are woken at 1 and 5am, by noisy night-time screws doing the inappropriately named ‘Silent Roll Check’. They generally shine the torches in our face to make sure we are in the rooms, then maintain torchlight on us until we move or as is often the case, wake up and swear at them. I sense this is more game than intelligent planned routine procedure.

Spence packs his stuff up and I give him a hand, I’ve had the A-OK for George to move in and I rifle through Spence’s leftovers to see what I can salvage. I gain a book of stamps and a load of envelopes for my efforts.

This morning he sorted out the drama with the rival traveller factions and put to rest a gripe with a gent in here on a 12 stretch for a kneecapping. I think that’s a wise thing to do 🙂

 

18th August

14 May

National Duvet Day – well it isn’t, it should be NAtional Prisoners do Nice Things Day. Armed with the signed General Application form I make for the property reception at 6.30 pm. Inmates at Ford have between 6.30 and 7pm on a weekday to collect inbound property. Not a lot of time in a prison of 500 + fellas and with a regularly changing population.

The same guard as before greets me – my bedding Nemesis. He tries to reject my approach to withdraw my duvet, informing me again of the unreported ruling. Water off a duck’s back here.

I’m steadfast Eddie.

I slide forward the paperwork. My finger heads toward the date on the application and then to the signatory: The SO.

“The SO didn’t feel fit to highlight this new ruling, can you show me your paperwork that over-rules this?”

He relents. The man I refer to in impression than by name. He looks as if someone has fixed a clamp to his forehead and chin and then been stretched. All the while deprived of sunlight, as his brain is removed from the rear of his cranium. A skinny zombie is  a kind comparison.

YES – I think, I wait with my breath held as he unfurls the quilt with the fire codes there for all to see. I can feel them uniting with me. A collection of codes screaming:

“GIVE ME TO MASEY”

….and then, a smirk becomes a half smile across his face; as he looks at the label on the possession I prize so dearly.

He slides my application toward him, studies it closely and looks again to the label on the duvet.

The application is pushed toward me as he smiles and says:

“The numbers don’t match”

…………………………………………………………………

As I wander away from the reception, tail firmly entrenched between my legs; Andy an education orderly calls my name. He ushers me over, tells me to grab a bag and come across to his cell. I do as he says and then bimble over to his block.

He greets me with a spare duvet.

“It may need a wash Fam” He says.

“You want anything for it?” I ask.

“Don’t be tripping, workmates innit” I get back.

Loosely translated, I have a free duvet.

Andy – you legend.

I clumsily slip back to the billets with my illicit bedding and get to making up my sleeping arrangements with a buzz of excitement. Spurs are on the tv tonight, just beforehand I pick up the bluebox and call Mum. It’s turned out nice again eh?