A RETIRED architect who embezzled hundreds of thousands of pounds from a student charity is being chased for over £1.5 million by Crown prosecutors.

Ian Brash stole more then £350,000 from the Dr Robert Malcolm Trust (DRMT) while he was a trustee of the charity.

Brash splashed out on an Alpha Romeo, two new Land Rovers and paid tens of thousands' of pounds to fund deposits for buy-to-let properties for his children.

The 66-year-old also bought a wind turbine and paid off large vet bills with the embezzled charity cash.

Brash is now being forced to sell off A-listed Fa'side Castle, near Tranent, as he bids to pay back the huge sum taken from the charity.

He pleaded guilty last year to embezzling £358,832 from the charity between August 12, 2010, and September 10, 2014.

The shamed architect was due to be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Monday) but Sheriff Frank Crowe again deferred sentence for a further two months to allow the sale of the castle to go ahead.

The court was told that prosecutors are now seeking to use the proceeds of crime legislation against Brash and are seeking a total of £1,590,512.69.

Advocate Mark Stewart QC said that Brash was keen to repay the money that he had taken and added his client had a number of interested parties in buying the castle.

The father-of-two is currently selling the historic castle – a 15th century four-storey castle with six bedrooms, four reception rooms and a great hall – through a leading Edinburgh estate agents for offers over £1.9 million.

Previously, the court was told that charity regulator OSCR became “concerned about the movement of funds” from the charity bank account to Brash’s personal account in 2012 and an investigation was set up.

Brash claimed that the charity cash had become “mixed up” with his own finances and that he had invested the missing funds in property for the future benefit to the charity.

But when pressed by the regulators, he could not provide any documentation backing this up.

Brash then attempted to arrange a repayment plan over several years with OSCR but the regulator said “the offer could not properly be accepted”.

The regulator reported the matter to the Crown Office and they subsequently passed on the details to Police Scotland’s Economic Crime Unit.

The court was also told that DRMT had made regular awards to medical students and in the period between 1992 and 1994 a total of £27,000 was handed out to 66 recipients.

But by the time Brash was in charge of the finances, it was found that two students who received a payment of £2,000 between them in 2011 were the last to benefit from the charity.

The DRMT bank account was closed down by RBS in 2013 with a closing balance of just £1,270.

An OSCR spokesperson said: “OSCR opened its inquiry into this charity in 2012.

“Our inquiries into this complex case suggested there had been criminal conduct, so in line with our published policies we made a report to the prosecuting authorities.

“Since then we have worked with the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service and Police Scotland to support the prosecution of Ian Brash.

“We were pleased to note the verdict in the case, which shows that criminality in Scottish charities will be investigated and dealt with appropriately.

“We are considering the future of the charity.”

Fa’side Castle was built in the 15th century and was set on fire by the English, reputedly suffocating and killing all those inside, before the last battle between England and Scotland, the Battle of Pinkie in 1547.

The historic castle also has connections to Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed there before the Battle of Carberry Hill in 1567.

Fa’side was in ruins by the late 19th century and subsequently escaped two demolition orders in the 1960s before author Nigel Tranter and a local provost formed a group dedicated to making the ruins safe and to find someone willing to take on the restoration.

Tom Craig, a local engineer, used to run past the castle when he was a schoolboy at the nearby private Loretto School and he purchased the castle along with his wife Claire in 1976.

After many years of hard work on the part of the Craigs, the nearly restored castle was sold to American couple Jamie and Charmie Douglas in the late 1980s.

Fa’side Castle was then sold to Ian and Sue Brash in December 1989, where the couple lived with their two children, Vicki and Greig.

In recent years, the Brashs have been operating the castle as an exclusive bed-and breakfast country retreat where guests can enjoy their stay in large barrel-vaulted bedrooms containing seven-foot ‘Emperor’ beds.

The castle is reportedly haunted by the ‘Green Lady’, who is said to appear in a window of the Great Hall every September 9, the anniversary of the Battle of Pinkie.

Local rumours also tell of the castle being connected to the nearby Pinkie House, Elphinstone Tower and Carberry Tower by underground passages.