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Former Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale in court on fraud charges

Fri 6th May 2011 | Legal

The former Leeds United and Cardiff City chairman Peter Ridsdale appeared in court on Thursday, after being charged with three counts of unfair trading and fraud relating to his time at Cardiff.

The charges have been brought by Cardiff council's trading standards department, and concern a "Golden Ticket" scheme promoted by the club in December 2009. The scheme allowed fans to buy their season tickets for the 2010-11 season early, promising that they would receive a full refund if the club were promoted to the Premier League, and that the proceeds would be spent on players in the January 2010 transfer window.

But no players were bought in that transfer window and the club was in fact under a transfer embargo at that time. "It was anticipated that if we launched these tickets early and had received new investment pre-Christmas or in January, we would have been able to invest in new players in the January transfer window," the club said in a statement released on 27 January last year. "In the absence of the new investment this will not be possible. We have to ensure that other overheads and financial issues are properly addressed. Whilst we apologise for this, we do not apologise for ensuring that the viability and financial health of the club is the ultimate priority."

Ridsdale, currently the acting chairman at League One club Plymouth Argyle, appeared at Cardiff magistrates' court to confirm his name and address. "I can confirm that I was present and that I will be vigorously rebutting the charges," he told Walesonline later.

Ridsdale faces two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and one under the Fraud Act 2006. The case was adjourned until 22 July, with Cardiff council indicating that it wants it to be heard under a crown court, where the maximum punishment would be 10 years' imprisonment, rather than a magistrates' court, where Ridsdale's sentence could be no more than 12 months in prison, or a fine.

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