Exclusive: Crisis-hit G4S hand prison keys to Lib Dem conman

Exclusive: Crisis-hit G4S hand prison keys to Lib Dem conman Michael Brown, who donated £2.4m to the party and is facing money laundering charges in Spain, after he lands jail job

  • The 52-year-old provides advice on prisoner inductions and self-harm
  • He has been cleared to roam HMP Rye Hill in Warwickshire, a high-security jail 
  • The jail is home to hundreds of convicted sex offenders serving long sentences 
  • Brown had been allowed to work in scandal-hit Birmingham prison 

A notorious conman has been handed security keys to a prison after landing a highly-sensitive job after his release from jail.

Michael Brown, who swindled investors out of tens of millions of pounds by falsely claiming to be the Gordonstoun-educated son of a lord, is working for G4S, the scandal-hit security firm which manages four jails.

The 52-year-old provides advice on prisoner inductions and self-harm, and has been cleared to roam HMP Rye Hill in Warwickshire. 

A high-security category B jail, it is home to hundreds of convicted sex offenders serving long sentences.

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Convicted con man Michael Brown (right) pictured in jail in the Dominican Republic

Brown, who gave £2.4million of his stolen money to the Liberal Democrats, has also carried out work at a second G4S jail, HMP Oakwood, a category C jail near Wolverhampton.

Since landing work at G4S, he has spent six days at another of its establishments, HMP Birmingham, which was taken over by the Ministry of Justice last month following grave concerns about how it was being run.

Sources said G4S had hired Brown last September on the recommendation of Serco, another big security firm which runs private prisons.

The Daily Mail has already revealed that he is facing jail again after being charged with money laundering offences in Spain. 

A prosecutor there has called for him to be locked up for five years and fined £5.3million for salting away £2.4million of his ill-gotten gains through property and other assets.

The Scottish-born crook has already served a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for theft and fraud offences after going on the run for three years.

Brown, who flew Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy and other party top brass around the country in his private jet during the 2005 general election, accrued his enormous wealth by conning huge sums out of trusting investors.

The convicted fraudster Michael Brown (pictured), who donated £2.4 of tainted money to the Liberal Democrats and then tried to evade justice

HMP Rye Hill, where convicted fraudster and Lib-Dem donor Michael Brown is believed to be working

They included former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards, who lost £5million.

Yet Brown was deemed honest enough to work in prisons managed by G4S, which is the world’s largest security company.

The company has repeatedly been exposed over failures in prisons, tagging, security services and patient transport over the past decade.

It also botched the security of the 2012 Olympics leaving the Government to summon the armed forces to fill the gaps.

Sources revealed that the director of Rye Hill, Pete Small, approved the decision to grant Brown access to prison security keys. This followed a risk assessment.


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Bill Chua, one of Brown’s victims, told the Mail last night: ‘For a prison operator to hire him is really strange.

‘It doesn’t make sense given his record. I think he’s got an ulterior motive and I think this is for his image. 

‘He probably thinks this is a way to get back to England otherwise the Serious Fraud Office will be checking him out the whole time. If he really has reformed himself it would be news to everyone.’

Following his release from jail in January 2016 Brown reinvented himself as a campaigner for prison reform.

He is said to still be on probation and uses the pseudonym ‘The Tartan Con’ to blog and tweet about prisoner rights.

A shot of Michael Brown’s Twitter account

Styling himself Michael Campbell-Brown, a combination of his and his wife’s surnames, he has even made a submission to a parliamentary committee.

Yet there is little or no mention of the rights of victims in his numerous blogs or thousands of tweets. According to a Spanish prosecutor, £36million of his funds is still missing.

A G4S spokesman said: ‘Michael Brown has worked with us on specific projects as a consultant focusing on early days in custody, particularly around issues of self-harm and suicide, as well as staff training.

A page from the blog of Michael Brown entitled ‘The Rants of an Ex-Prisoner’

‘We are reviewing all the facts in relation to these allegations and whether we continue to use Michael. 

Employing ex-offenders who have served their time gives us a further insight into the prisoners’ experience of prison life.’

Serco said Brown had security keys while working at its prisons as a part-time consultant. It said the experience of ex-offenders was invaluable in developing ‘safe secure and decent environments’.

Brown has been living in Majorca with his 59-year-old wife Sharon at their £750,000 ‘winter villa’ in Esporles.

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