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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 15:46 GMT
Exeter FC trial moved from city
John Russell and Mike Lewis
John Russell and Mike Lewis are accused of defrauding the club
The fraud trial of two former directors of Exeter City Football Club and one of their wives will be heard in Bristol.

A judge accepted arguments from the defence at a hearing on Thursday there would be a "perception of prejudice" if the trial was to take place in Exeter.

Michael Lewis, 63, and John Russell, 48, and his 49-year-old wife Gillian Russell face a charge of conspiracy to defraud Exeter City Football Club.

The alleged offences were committed between April 2002 and May 2003.

Granted bail

Mr Lewis, of Lougher Road, Swansea, and Mr Russell of Cannon Hall Close, Clifton Brighouse, West Yorkshire also face three others charges of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, giving financial assistance towards the acquisition of the company's own shares and fraudulent trading.

Mrs Russell, of the same address as Mr Russell, also faces two further charges of false accounting and theft of 20,000 from Exeter City Football Club.

The charges relate to a period between February 2002 and May 2003.

It is hoped the trial will be held in the middle of next year and is expected to last six weeks.

The defendants were all granted bail at Thursday's hearing at Exeter Crown Court before Judge Jeremy Griggs.

Police conducted a 20-month investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the football club.




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