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Last Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Lineker brother jailed for fraud
Wayne Lineker
Lineker admitted defrauding the Inland Revenue
The brother of former England football captain Gary Lineker has been jailed for a 220,000 tax fraud.

Wayne Lineker, 43, was sentenced to two and a half years by a judge at Southwark Crown Court in London.

The millionaire bar owner, of Fyfield, Essex, admitted conspiracy to defraud the Inland Revenue last week.

He admitted using unsuspecting relatives and friends to ferry foreign currency to Britain from his Lineker's sports bars in Spain.

He was also ordered to pay a 90,000 confiscation order or else face a further 24 months in jail.

Smuggled money

His manager David Hodges, 43, of Rosebank, Waltham Abbey, Essex, who also pleaded guilty to taking part in the conspiracy between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2001, was jailed for 20 months.

John Stacey, 56, a former administrative manager at NatWest stockbrokers, since turned taxi-driver, was jailed for 18 months.

One of the Lineker's chain of bars
Lineker owns bars in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and the Canaries

Stacey, of Liffstan Way, Southend, Essex, had been convicted of the conspiracy charge after a two-week trial earlier this year heard he had received a series of four-figure sweeteners and a holiday in Portugal in return for helping the pair.

The scam worked by sending bundles of pesetas and escudos from bars in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands into Britain using the unsuspecting "mules".

Once in Britain, the money was laundered into sterling, first through a bureau de change and later using a series of money exchange deals arranged by Stacey.

The court heard that once it had been "cleaned up", the cash would be handed back to Lineker, whose older brother captained England during a high-profile international career before becoming Match of the Day presenter.

'Burglars and thieves'

The foreign equivalent of 220,000 is thought to have been smuggled into Britain over three years, with the actual cost to the taxman estimated at 90,000, including interest.

Lineker, who lives in a 2m mansion in Fyfield, owns eight pubs and has franchises on three others.

Sentencing him, Judge Stephen Robbins said Lineker had drawn his "right-hand man" Hodges into the conspiracy but that he himself took prime responsibility for the fraud.

He added that defrauding the Inland Revenue was a "serious offence because it means defrauding the vast majority of honest taxpayers", and compared Lineker and Hodges to "burglars and thieves".

Ex-market trader

Lineker used to run a stall in Leicester market but in 1988 moved to Tenerife and, with his brother's blessing, utilised the family name by opening the World Famous Lineker's Bar in Playa de las Americas.

This was followed by more bars, simply called Lineker's - in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and the Canary Islands - which are filled with footballing memorabilia.

Gary Lineker once said: "Wayne is good at business - he has always been able to turn a penny into tuppence.

"I admire the way he has built up the clubs. It is his little empire which will hopefully continue to build and do well."


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