LONDON: A security chief and his accomplice, a former Royal Marine, have been charged with burgling the UAE’s London Embassy in an attempt to use blackmail to secure £3 million ($4.1 million).
Dean Manister, the former head of corporate security operations at the embassy, and Lee Hurford, a former Royal Marine who also worked there, allegedly broke into the Belgravia building’s secure area to steal passports, money, and confidential documents.
A court in Westminster, London heard how the pair had planned to extort £3 million from a VIP at the embassy in exchange for the items, which were stolen on the night of Sept. 14, 2018, according to The Times newspaper.
Manister, 50, was previously head of security at a Bank of England cash center for seven years and has also worked as assistant vice president of security at JP Morgan.
In his online profile at security firm FSI, where he is employed as a consultant, Manister is described as having “unmatched experience of manned guarding in the corporate sector” and a “vast knowledge of security systems, access control, fire, life and safety, and alarm and response.”
FSI told The Times that Manister “emphatically denies the allegations made against him” and that his lawyers are confident he will be acquitted.
Hurford, 48, from Leeds, is a former Royal Marines Commando who was employed as a close protection guard at the embassy. He and Hurford are jointly accused of burglary and conspiracy to blackmail.
Hurford appeared in court via video link from his home and was also charged with theft after allegedly stealing passports, a security card, and almost £70,000 in cash from the embassy.
The trial is expected to continue from Feb. 10 in Southwark.