Wales

Ex-Wales player Mark Aizlewood denies football fraud

Mark Aizlewood
Image caption Mark Aizlewood's former clubs include Cardiff, Bristol City, Leeds and Charlton

An ex-Wales footballer has denied being part of an alleged multi-million pound fraud involving apprentice schemes.

Mark Aizlewood, 57, from Aberdare, pleaded not guilty to fraud by false representation in connection with football-based apprenticeships.

He and five others face charges at London's Southwark Crown Court after a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

Former Middlesbrough, Cardiff and Newport player Paul Sugrue, 55, of Cardiff, also denied the allegation.

The charge relates to the Coventry-based Learning and Skills Council and its successor, the Skills Funding Agency, which were both allegedly defrauded between 1 November, 2008, and 30 September, 2011.

Jack William Harper, 29, of Southport, Merseyside, Christopher Paul Martin, 52, of Catmore, West Berkshire, and Keith Anthony Williams, 44, of Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, also denied the count.

Steven Paul Gooding, 52, of Bridgwater, Somerset, will enter a plea to the alleged conspiracy on 31 October.

A second charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation was also denied by Aizlewood, Sugrue, Martin and Williams.

It concerns making dishonest representations regarding the accounts of Luis Michael Associates and Luis Michael Training between 1 January, 2009, and 31 October, 2010.

Aizlewood, who was capped 39 times by Wales, and played for Charlton Athletic, Leeds United and Bristol City, spoke only to deny the charges.

Harper also denied an additional count of fraud and one of using a false instrument, both of which he stands accused of alone.

They were all bailed to return for trial at the same court on 4 September, 2017.

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