Life and high-flying times of four partners in crime

HERON Group tycoon Gerald Ronson was sentenced to 12 months but only served six in jail. He was also fined £5 million after being convicted on two counts of false accounting, one count of theft and of conspiracy to contravene the Prevention of Fraud Act 1958.

The fine was then the biggest to be imposed on a private individual.

The son of Jewish Russian immigrants, his father ran a successful furniture business in north London, which Ronson built into Britain's second biggest private company. When he finished his jail term at Ford Open prison, he received a welcome home present from his wife. The 47,000 Porsche was a sign he was back in business, defying those who had jailed him.

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The DTI criticised Ronson for his role in the Guinness affair but described him as a "patsy".

He was not seen as a stooge though. The report said: "Rumours had reached [Ronson] of success-related fees negotiated in both camps by banks and other advisers. Mr Ronson saw no reason to be excluded from the feast."

Millionaire stockbroker Antony Parnes was arrested in the US and charged on his return to Britain in 1988.

Nicknamed "The Animal", he was convicted on four counts of false accounting and two counts of theft and had his original sentence of two-and-a-half years reduced to 21 months on appeal in May 1991. The son of a London gown manufacturer, Parnes, started his working life as an office boy with a stockbroker.

A flamboyant, smartly dressed character, Parnes was a big dealer who acted for some of the biggest names in the share dealing business.

After spells with stockbroking houses AJ Bekhor, Rowe Rudd and McNally, he became a "half commission" man with Alexanders Laing and Cruickshank.

He sheltered technology businessman Rolf Schild when the Schild family was kidnapped in Sardinia in 1979. A marriage to Denise Ratner, sister of jewellery tycoon Gerald Ratner, ended in divorce. Since the Guinness affair became public he has kept a low profile.

Ernest Saunders was chief executive of Guinness at the time of the trial. He was jailed for five years after being convicted of false accounting, theft and conspiracy to defraud. His sentence was halved on appeal and he was released from open prison after serving 10 months when the Court of Appeal accepted doctors' advice that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

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Nicknamed "Deadly Ernest" for his habit of droning on, he now says the diagnosis of his condition was mistaken.

He was later appointed chairman of the executive committee of a US-based multinational petrol credit-card company, Harpur-Gelco.

A DTI report described him as a man who did "unjustifiable favours for friends and himself".

Financier Jack Lyons, 84, who has suffered three heart attacks and is now receiving chemotherapy after an operation on a tumour, was fined 3 million for his role in the affair. It had been expected he would try to have his appeal heard earlier because of the state of his health. Lyons, who escaped prison because of his illnesses but was later stripped of his knighthood, once said he asked himself every day: "Why did I allow myself to become involved? Why did I fail to confirm whether these actions were lawful?"

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