The Hatton Garden burglary mastermind claims he ‘did not make a penny’ from the record-breaking heist as police try to seize his property empire.
Brian Reader, 78, says he did not pocket anything after bringing the wrong drill and falling out with the rest of the gang.
But the ailing diamond thief could still lose his £1million mansion and two executive homes if forced to pay compensation to victims.
Details of his attempt to distance himself from the spoils emerged as a judge was told the other culprits may yet profit from the raid.
Hatton Garden burglary mastermind Brian Reader, left and right, 78, claims he ‘did not make a penny’ from the heist as a judge has warned Reader and his fellow thieves they could have their sentences extended if they do not hand over their ill-gotten gains
The gang bored through half a yard of concrete to access the vault and took gold and jewellery worth an estimated £25million
Police found some of the loot inside a Sainsbury’s bag for life, pictured, but say less than £4million of the £25million haul stolen has been recovered
The authorities are threatening to jail the ‘diamond wheezers’ for up to an extra 14 years each unless they hand over their ill-gotten gains.
But their lawyers warn that complex work to get to the bottom of what is still missing and who owns it could take years.
Woolwich Crown Court heard police are still struggling to determine exactly what was stolen after the gang tunnelled into the London jewellery quarter vault.
Less than £4 million worth of cash, jewellery and bullion has been recovered from the estimated £25 million haul snatched over the 2016 Easter weekend.
Some stolen gold, recovered from a cemetery and the gang’s household ‘smelting factory’, has been returned to its owners.
Other victims, including several wholesale jewellers, have had substantial cash payments from their insurers pending the return of their missing valuables.
But around 20 people who lost goods worth more than £100,000 each still have their valuables in the hands of police pending valuation.
In January, a businesswoman in the Far East came forward to claim she lost valuables worth £7million, throwing estimates of the total value of the raid into disarray.
Judge Christopher Kinch said a confiscation hearing set for January next year is already likely to be delayed.
Reader, pictured right with accomplices John Collins (centre) and Terry Perkins (left) bragging about the heist in the Castle pub in Pentonville Road. Perkins has since suffered a heart attack while Collins has also spent time in hospital
Cash, jewellery and bullion were all taken from safety deposit boxes in the vault, pictured
‘Some jewellery has been recovered. What is missing at this stage is how much or what quantity and value was not recovered,’ he said.
‘The law requires the Crown to prove the value of benefit they have realised. I’m concerned about the valuation hearing and the length of time that takes.’
Several members of the Hatton Garden gang have substantial assets but attempts to document them have been hampered by their poor health.
Reader, who laundered some of the Brink’s-Mat gold, claims to have suffered a ‘dramatic’ deterioration in his health leading his family to fear he could die behind bars.
Terry Perkins, 69, suffered a heart attack last month which saw him rushed from Belmarsh and John ‘Kenny’ Collins, 77, also spent a long stint in hospital.
Prosecutor Philip Stott said a compensation order could be made against the gang members even if it was shown they did not benefit from the raid.
‘The defence suggests that Mr Reader did not benefit from the crime, in which case the confiscation order falls away,’ he said.
‘However there would then be compensation to consider.
‘He undoubtedly contributed to the loss cause to the victims so we need to know what are his assets and what is a reasonable sum to pay.’
Mr Stott added: ‘The victims in this case have been deprived of that property for over two years now. Some of it is of such generic kind that many of the victims may claim it.
Hatton Garden ringleaders John ‘Kenny’ Collins (top left) Daniel Jones (top centre) and Terry Perkins (top right) all got seven years,as did William ‘Billy the Fish’ Lincoln (bottom centre). Carl Wood, who quit the gang halfway through the crime, got six years and Hugh Doyle, who let the men use his office, received a suspended sentence
‘Some of it has been damaged. The Crown are concerned to return that property as soon as possible.
‘Victims have written about the very real difficulties they have been faced with. If there’s going to be a valuation of the recovered items firm dates must be set. Work needs to start.’
One expert close to the investigation said: ‘There remain an awful lot of people who are not saying what was in their safe deposit boxes.
‘There is a lot of stuff police are already holding and it looks like some of it may never be claimed for various reasons.
‘Incredibly, some of these guys did not keep decent records and it makes it very hard to prove who had what and when.’
Loss adjustor Rick Marchant, who acts for seven victims of the burglary, said it is clear those responsible will ‘keep it going for as long as they can.’
‘Since a woman came forward earlier this year and registered a £7million loss we are now dealing with a much bigger value crime,’ he said.
‘Will they face further charges or a longer sentence as a result? It is not clear and there is no end in sight to these proceedings.’