Callum Keown

A CORPORATE finance manager has been spared jail after it was revealed time
behind bars would derail a billion-Euro wind farm project in Ireland.

Michael Chase-Sarver, of Twelve Acre Farm, Eynsham, had pleaded guilty to
perverting the course of justice after deceiving authorities when he was
caught speeding in March.

In Oxford Crown Court yesterday Deputy Circuit Judge Patrick Eccles QC said
the 47-year-old “deserved” to be jailed but spared him after dramatic
evidence from an Irish businessman.

Engineer and property developer Noel Shortt flew to Oxford from
Londonderry, Northern Ireland to tell the court a billion-Euro scheme to
build a 35,000-acre wind farm in Donegal would “sink” if Chase-Sarver was
jailed.

Mr Shortt said investors were due to meet the pair in Dublin next week.

The father-of-one, who has pumped €2m into the project set to create 300
jobs, explained that the deal – which had been brought to the table by
Chase-Sarver – would collapse if the Eynsham man was jailed and he would
lose his property portfolio and his house.

He added that he had bought the 35,000-acre site from more than 100 farmers
in Donegal.

The project must be up and running by December 2017 or it will lose a
government subsidy – according to Mr Shortt this means turbines would need
to be ordered by November this year.

The cost of phase one of the nine-phase project, the installation of
thirteen turbines, would be €60m – with the overall cost estimated at
around €1bn Euros.

Judge Eccles brandished Chase-Sarver as “unbelievably dishonest” but said
he could not allow an honest man’s life and 300 potential jobs be ruined by
his actions.

After being caught speeding earlier this year Chase-Sarver, who has
previously worked for Barclays and Lehman Brothers and now runs his own
company, had his car re-sprayed, convinced the garage who did the work to
backdate the job, and told police his registration plates were being
fraudulently used by someone else.

He was sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for two years, and given
a four-month curfew which requires him to be at his Eynsham home everyday
between 6pm and 6am.


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