Ian Rush, head of Nautesco Marine, a boatbuilding company in Lincolnshire, will face a retrial on charges that he built boats for drug smugglers operating between Spain and North Africa. According to the Lowestoft Journal, Rush's three-week trial was ended after the jury failed to the reach a verdict.
Rush was charged with conspiracy to acquire criminal property. Prosecutors charged him with continuing the illegal work of Crompton Marine after its owners Ellen George and Neil Davison were arrested by UK customs in 2004 following a joint Spanish-British investigation. Officers discovered £1.2m hidden around the couple's home. Another €1 million and £39,000 in cash were uncovered during a search of the home in which Davison had been living near Malaga, Spain. George pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and money laundering at an earlier hearing at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court. Davison remains on bail in Spain facing drug-smuggling charges.
During his trial, Rush admitted that the business he set up, called Nautesco Marine, built the same type of high-speed craft that Crompton Marine manufactured. But he insisted that he did nothing illegal.
Rush told the court that following the arrest of George and Davison, he decided to set up his own business to continue boat manufacturing. He denied prosecutors' claims that some of the 50 craft he built were knowingly sold for illegal purposes. Rush said that his business was entirely above board with records kept of all sales.
Rush also denied allegations that five visits he made to Spain to visit Davison in prison had been to plan the new venture. Rush admitted that he had paid Crompton Marine staff for the nine weeks they had been without wages following the arrest of George and Davison, but insisted that it had been a loan to be repaid when the company was able to resume trading.
A date has not yet been set for the retrial.