Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Ex-football boss admits tax fraud

Azwar Majeed
Azwar Majeed is on bail so he can help police investigate his financial affairs

The former chairman of a West Sussex football club is facing jail for cheating the taxman out of up to 1m.

Millionaire businessman and former boss of Crawley Town FC, Azwar Majeed, 33, of Dyke Road, Brighton, admitted one count of cheating the public revenue.

Appearing at Southwark Crown Court, he also admitted a charge of failing to keep "sufficient" accounting records and concealing criminal property.

Majeed will be sentenced on 25 February.

The court heard he used personal and company accounts to launder cash and bought expensive cars - a Lamborghini, a Ferrari Enzo and a Bentley - several luxurious East Sussex properties and hi-tech entertainment equipment.

He deliberately blurred his personal and financial affairs to disguise the source and extent of his wealth
Det Insp Gary Walters

When police raided a safe deposit box in Knightsbridge, west London, they found two holdalls containing 500,000, while a further 12,000 was recovered from a safe at his then home in North Street, Brighton.

At the time Majeed was sole director of SA Retail which was involved with the wholesale distribution of alcohol, running off-licences, general stores and bars.

All the offences admitted to were committed between 1 April 2003 and 31 January last year.

Electronic tag

Lisa Wilding, prosecuting, said that although a number of other counts were not being proceeded with, those Majeed had admitted "fully" reflected the Crown's case.

She said Majeed had previous convictions for common assault and perverting the course of justice, but also had to be dealt with for breaching a financial restraining order.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith told the businessman he was being allowed to remain on bail so he could help a police forensic expert investigate his financial affairs for an eventual confiscation hearing.

But Majeed was told he would have to provide a 50,000 surety, live at the Dyke Road address and be subject to a nightly 2100 to 0200 GMT curfew, wear an electronic tag, and report to his local police station three times a week.

Speaking outside court, case officer Det Insp Gary Walters, from Scotland Yard's Money Laundering Investigation Team, said the "thorough investigation" meant Majeed had no option but to plead guilty.

"He deliberately blurred his personal and financial affairs to disguise the source and extent of his wealth," he said.

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