Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FRAUD DENIED; Agent's Trial May Be Held Away from Home

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

FRAUD DENIED; Agent's Trial May Be Held Away from Home

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT

A FOOTBALL agent accused of defrauding ex-Boro player Stewart Downing may not be tried on Teesside.

It appears likely that the trial of FIFA agent Ian Elliott will be held away rather than at home because of Middlesbrough jurors' possible strong feelings surrounding the football club.

But Newcastle and Leeds crown courts have been deemed unsuitable grounds for the legal clash because of possible "tribal" football allegiances against Middlesbrough.

Elliott, 52, denied four counts of fraud at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

He is accused of abusing his position as Stewart Downing's agent in 2007 and committing fraud by: Falsely claiming Downing consented to him becoming a director of Stewart Downing Promotions Ltd; Requiring Downing to sign a two-year contract without telling him that its terms were inconsistent with an earlier contract; Creating a consultancy agreement which purported to entitle Elliott to pounds 100,000 per year, backdated to 2004; Creating false invoices for money supposedly owed by Stewart Downing Promotions Ltd to two companies, Elliott Sports Management Ltd and Waveclean Ltd, trading as ESM Interiors.

He has not yet entered a plea to a fifth charge that he "dishonestly obtained" almost pounds 5,600 between October 2006 and May 2008 by falsely claiming he was entitled to receive the money. A trial is expected to start later this year and will last about three weeks.

The trial judge may be self-confessed Boro fan Judge Michael Taylor.

He declared in court yesterday he was "a Middlesbrough spectator and supporter, although I do not know the management of the club, I do not know Mr Downing or any of the players". He said he had dealt with "several reasonably high-profile football type cases", and a number of cases involving the club in the last 15 years. …

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