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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Accountant guilty of footballer theft
Anders Limpar
Anders Limpar felt he had no choice but to pay the tax bill twice
An accountant has been found guilty of stealing nearly 90,000 which a former Arsenal player had given him to pay off the taxman.

Marc Geppert, 46, was acting for former Arsenal, Everton and Sweden star, Anders Limpar, when he transferred much of his client's money into a string of overdrawn bank accounts.

By the time Mr Limpar realised what had happened, the money had all been spent, London's Southwark Crown Court was told.

Geppert, of George Lane, South Woodford, Essex, was convicted on Wednesday of one count of theft.

George Graham
George Graham's dealings were investigated
Adjourning the case for three weeks for pre-sentence reports, Recorder David Fisher QC warned the accountant that although he could remain on bail until then "all sentencing options remain open".

Shani Barnes, prosecuting, told the eight-day trial that Mr Limpar had received a 180,000 "signing on fee" when he left Italian side Cremonese for Arsenal in the summer of 1990.

She said: "He kept the money originally in Switzerland and then offshore hoping, believing, that money would never get into the hands of the Inland Revenue in the UK.

"However, it transpired that wherever he put it, the taxman wanted his share of it."

The outstanding bill was discovered during an Inland Revenue investigation into the affairs of then Arsenal manager George Graham and a number of the club's players.

A series of negotiations followed with the Inland Revenue eventually agreeing the footballer should pay a total of 77,000.

Footballer faced bankruptcy

But Geppert told Mr Limpar he owed just under 90,000, leaving the player to sell stocks and shares to raise the money.

It was then paid into one of Geppert's bank accounts before being transferred to other overdrawn accounts.

More than a year then passed before Mr Limpar learned his tax bill was still outstanding.

Faced with the threat of bankruptcy, the player felt he had no choice but to write another cheque.

When confronted by police, Geppert denied any wrongdoing and claimed Mr Limpar had not only "deceived" him, but lied to the taxman as well.

He claimed the 89,995 the player paid him represented nothing more than his fees for handling his affairs.




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