Cellini move uncertain after fraud claims revealed
By Tom Dowsett
Friday 15 Jan 2010 15:37:00
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Prospective West Ham Owner Massimo Cellini is reported to have been convicted of deception on two occasions and is likely to fail the Premier League's 'fit and proper persons test,'today's Sun reports.

It is the latest amazing twist in the ongoing saga surrounding the sale of the cash-strapped East End outfit.

In 1996, he spent eight days in custody after being arrested on suspicion of deceiving the EU and the Italian Ministry for Agriculture out of £7.5m.

The Miami-based businessman was convicted of the offence in 2000 and given a 14-month suspended sentence.

Then, in 2001, Cellini got a 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at the Serie A club he controls.

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 The League has strict rules banning dishonest directors - Section D2, Appendix 12 of the PL rule book states a director will be barred if:

He has a conviction (not a spent conviction) imposed by a court of the UK or a competent court of foreign jurisdiction in respect of which an unsuspended sentence of at least 12 months imprisonment was imposed.

Two convictions of fraud - one involving the books of a football club - MUST be considered an "act which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest".

Admittedly however, Cellini's first offence was non-football related.

And only last month Cellini, 54, was ordered to appear in court to give evidence in a football corruption trial involving referees and ex-officials of top Serie A sides.

It looks like Cellini's dishonest past may well have caught up with him, and his ambition of an Upton Park buy-out might not come to light. 


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