Former Leeds United director Simon Morris faces prosecution for hiding assets
FORMER Leeds United director Simon Morris is facing criminal charges surrounding assets he is alleged to have kept hidden when he was made bankrupt.
The 35-year-old, who was jailed in October 2011 for after being found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail his former business partner, now faces prosecution under the Insolvency Act over more than £1m of assets including cash and gold bullion he allegedly hid in Swiss bank accounts when his property business collapsed in 2009.
The Yorkshire Evening Post has reported that a summons has been handed to Morris’s solicitors from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills ordering him to appear before magistrates next month.
Details of the new charges emerged during a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) relating to Morris’s conviction for blackmail.
Morris, formerly of Ling Lane, Scarcroft, was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to blackmail his former partner, estate agent Hedley Manton, out of £100,000.
Morris sent bodyguard Johnathon Ashworth to Mr Manton’s offices in Headingley in March 2009 and stab threats were made unless he parted with the six-figure sum.
Prosecutor Michael Jowett told Newcastle Crown Court all correspondence relating to the new charges had been sent to Morris’s solicitors as it was not known where he is currently living.
Morris’s barrister Alasdair Campbell said he had not yet met with his client, but added: “From what I have heard from Mr Morris, at this stage there may well be a trial.”
The POCA hearing was adjourned to await the outcome of the latest court proceedings against Morris.
Adjourning the case, judge Brian Forster QC said: “I wonder if the gold bars will be produced at court? We will wait and see.”
Former Leeds Grammar School pupil was released early from his 18 month prison sentence in April last year
Mr Morris was once included on the Sunday Times Young Rich List with an estimated fortune of £69m and was part of a consortium that took over Leeds United football club.
However just three years later he was bankrupt following the collapse of Morris Properties which he blamed on the credit crunch and a downturn in the property market.