Ex-Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel 'was not buyer'

Sandy Ezekiel Mr Ezekiel was leader of Thanet District Council between 2003 and 2010

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An ex-council leader has told a court he did not consider himself the buyer of a property he is accused of using confidential information to purchase.

Maurice "Sandy" Ezekiel, of Crow Hill, Broadstairs, is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court accused of misconduct in a public office.

The 59-year-old served as Tory leader of Thanet District Council in Kent for seven years between 2003 and 2010.

Phillip Emanuel, of Margate, is accused of aiding and abetting misconduct.

Mr Ezekiel and Mr Emanuel, 64, deny the charges.

The prosecution said Mr Ezekiel effectively bought the properties for himself using his his life long friend Mr Emanuel as a proxy.

The court heard an estate agent was given the job of selling 12B King Street in Margate on behalf of the district council, which had owned it for a number of years, in 2008.

'Confidential information'

The property was sold to Mr Emanuel, who a few months later bought 12A King Street, which was a derelict shop at the time. Both properties were subsequently transferred to Mr Ezekiel, the trial was told.

The court heard Mr Ezekiel lent Mr Emanuel £125,000 to buy 12B King Street and the pair then purchased 12A.

Phillip Emanuel Phillip Emanuel, 64, is accused of aiding and abetting misconduct

The prosecution argues that Mr Ezekiel used confidential information he had as council leader and attempted to manipulate the purchase price.

Ben Summers, Mr Ezekiel's barrister, asked his client: "What was the state of your discussion about how this purchase was to be funded?"

"I was going to lend the money," Mr Ezekiel replied.

"Did you regard yourself as the buyer of 12B?" Mr Summers asked.

"Not at all," Mr Ezekiel said.

The trial continues.

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