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West Ham would-be owner Massimo Cellino outed as convicted fraudster

15 Jan 2010 16:17:58

West Ham would-be owner Massimo Cellino outed as convicted fraudster

West Ham's tumultuous season took another turn for the worse today when it was revealed that wannabe owner Massimo Cellino is a convicted fraudtser. The multimillionaire Italian emerged as a front runner to buy the club this week but a revelation in The Sun newspaper has reopened a race that has blighted the Upton Park boardroom for almost a year. Cellino, who is using his own money to fund the bid, is understood to be ready to pay around £63million to gain control at Upton Park and is also ready to clear West Ham's debt, estimated to be about £40m. Stand and deliver: Massimo Cellino had hoped to purchase West Ham But given he has twice had suspended jail sentences for deception, the 54-year-old would fail the Premier League's 'fit and proper person' test. The news is a body blow to Hammers fans who have been desperate for fresh investment as the club look to steer themselves clear of the relegation mire. The League states that a director will be barred 'in respect of any offence involving any act which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.' It also states that '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' will prevent a would-be owner from seizing control of a club. Open to offers: West Ham are desperate for new investment Miami-based Cellino was, in 1996, held in custody for eight days and later convicted of deceiving the EU and the Italian Ministry for Agriculture out of £7.5m. He plea-bargained a reduced and suspended 14-month sentence. Then in 2001 he was handed a 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at the Serie A club he controls. And only last month Cellino was ordered to appear in court to give evidence in a football corruption trial involving referees and ex-officials of top Serie A sides.  Race hots up to buy West Ham with two locked in £100m takeover raceIf there was no racism then who called West Ham striker Carlton Cole a monkey?West Ham deal still on: InterMarket consortium look to seal £100m dealALL THE WEST HAM UNITED FC


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