Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 18:43 UK

Two guilty of club takeover fraud

Two former directors of Derby County football club have been found guilty of fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in "commission".

Andrew Mackenzie and Murdo Mackay claimed cash totalling £440,625 after brokering a loan for the club.

Former finance director Mackenzie, 55, and ex-director of football Mackay, 53, used a £15m loan as a "carrot".

Jurors at Northampton Crown Court are considering the case against former chief executive Jeremy Keith.

During the trial, the court heard the loan had been used to convince administrators the club was worth next to nothing.

But jurors were told Keith, Mackenzie and Mackay then pocketed a "secret commission" of £440,625 in total from the club for brokering the loan.

'Secret commission'

Richard Sutton QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "As you may expect, it would not have been unusual for the company to have been charged by any person who is acting as broker for providing that loan.

"What you would not expect is that those who are taking over the club, those receiving a personal benefit for the assistance of that loan, would also expect to receive a financial benefit from the club for introducing that loan.

"The prosecution's case is that Mr Keith, Mr Mackenzie and Mr Mackay took a secret commission from the club."

The jury, which had been out for more than six days, has not yet reached its verdict in the case of Keith, of Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

It was also considering an alternative charge of falsifying documents in his case.

Jurors were told Derby County FC were struggling in 2003, following their relegation from the Premier League the previous year.

Laundering cash

The Pride Park club owed more than £35m and was put into receivership by the Co-op Bank, the court was told.

David Lowe, 58, of Boulevard des Moulins, Monaco, legal adviser during the takeover, was also found guilty today of helping to launder £81,895 of the £440,625.

A fifth defendant, Mark Waters, 48, of Bromley, south east London, who worked for the board as an accountant in 2003, was found not guilty of falsifying documents.

Mackenzie, of Burton Road, Derby, and ex-director of football Mackay, of Fife, Scotland, had denied conspiring to defraud Derby County of £440,625 on or before 8 December, 2003.

Mr Keith denies the same charge and the jury will continue its deliberations.

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