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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Pair cleared in Pilgrims tax scam
Two men have been cleared of any involvement in a tax swindle at Boston United Football Club.

Former Pilgrims' accountant Brian James and book-keeper Ian Lee had denied conspiracy charges.

General manager John Blackwell was cleared of the same charge last week after the judge directed the jury to acquit him due to a lack of evidence.

The Boston manager Steve Evans and the former chairman Pat Malkinson admitted their guilt at the start of the trial.

They will be sentenced at a later date.

'No idea'

The 300,000 scam was so successful it transformed the ailing club's fortunes, London's Southwark Crown Court was told.

Mr Lee, 57, from Sleaford Road, Boston and Mr James, 61, of David's Lane, Bennington, Lincolnshire both insisted they had done nothing wrong.

After more than six hours of deliberations the jury cleared them of conspiring to cheat the public revenue between 5 April 1997 and 1 June 2002.

Martin Hicks, QC, prosecuting, said: "The method deployed was simple - wages to various players and staff which attract tax were disguised as out-of-pocket expenses which do not attract tax.

'Remarkable success'

"Various fees and bonuses, such as signing-on fees or winning bonuses, went undisclosed when they should have been declared."

He added that the motive "was not one of personal greed" and those involved simply wanted to "prop up the ailing club".

The scam gave Boston such an edge over their competitors that they enjoyed "remarkable success", being promoted from the Unibond League to the Nationwide Conference and then the Football League, said Mr Hicks.


SEE ALSO
Club official cleared in tax case
11 Oct 06 |  Lincolnshire
Football bosses 'cheated' on tax
26 Sep 06 |  Lincolnshire
Football manager denies charges
13 Jan 06 |  Lincolnshire

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