This case was a complex fraud allegation, and involved the prosecution of various personnel employed at former Division Three Club, Boston United brought by the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office. Appearing on the Indictment were the Club’s Manager, Chairman, Two Accountants and our client, the General Manager.
The case arose as a result of a high profile Football Association investigation supervised by the Head of The English Football Association into the activities of the Club and its staff, in particular the Manager and the Club’s Chairman. That investigation resulted in the Manager receiving a lengthy ban from English Football.
The matter was set down for trial in London’s Southwark Crown Court with a time estimate of six weeks.
The Manager ultimately pleaded guilty along with the Chairman to the specialist tax fraud offence of cheating the public revenue out of £250,000.00 over a five year period.
The cheating had been so successful that the Club gained promotion into the Football League in 2002 with a squad of players of whom many were being paid inflated wages written into secret contracts.
The jury heard during the trial in the Crown Court that the Club operated a shadowy system of parallel contracts and secret payments which enabled them to recruit the best players, who they would have not otherwise have been able to afford. The Club even employed the services of former England International Paul Gascoigne. We should add that there is no suggestion that any of the players, or staff other than those who were convicted, committed any offence.
The then star striker, Ken Charlery told the trial he was given one contract which promised him £620 per week plus a £16,000.00 signing-on fee.
Neither the Football League nor The Inland Revenue was ever shown this contract.
The General manager represented by us, along with the two accountants, were acquitted on the Judge’s directions, whilst the Manager and Chairman both received suspended sentences.
This was a complex fraud case which obviously had a high level of public interest, both in the sense that the public wanted to know what had happened, and in the sense that there is a public interest in the proper regulation of sport and tax affairs. We were delighted that our client was able to leave the proceedings with no stain on his character at all, the case against him having been thrown out at half-time (and with no own goals or penalties!)