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Former owner facing fraud charge

Filed: Monday, 13th October 2014
By: Staff Writer

The former owner of West Ham United, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, is one of ten people being investigated by a French court for fraud.

The 74-year-old former banker, who lost his entire fortune in the world banking collapse of 2008 has been indicted by judge Renaud van Ruymbeke with regard to mortgages granted by Landsbanki, then Iceland's second-largest bank, before the market collapsed six years ago.

It is claimed that between 2006 and 2008 Landsbanki mortgaged hundreds of homes and businesses in exchange for cheap loans. However those individuals who took up the bank's generous offer were left high and dry in 2008 when Landsbanki went bust, leaving them out of pocket - and many "financially ruined".

Consequently, Gudmundsson and several other partners involved in Landsbanki at the time are being investigated for potential fraud - a charge that Gudmundsson's lawyer, Felix de Belloy, rejects. "Nothing in the records suggests that the parent company was following this type of financial product sold by the Luxembourg subsidiary," he said.

Gudmundsson - along with partner Eggert Magnusson - purchased West Ham United FC from former main shareholder Terrence Brown in December 2006. They promptly fired present managerial incumbent Alan Pardew, replacing him with Alan Curbishley who kept the club in the Premier League by virtue of 'the Great Escape'.

Gudmundsson was forced to relinquish control of the club in June 2009 when he handed control to Straumur-Burdaras, who promptly appointed former Legal Director Scott Duxbury at West Ham United's CEO.

Gudmundsson was previously found guilty of five fraud-related offences back in the 1980s when chief executive of Icelandic shipping line Hafskip.

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