EMILIANO Sala’s football agent Willie McKay has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in court today, claiming he’s the victim of a “witch hunt”.
Ex-footie super agent McKay, 60, is accused of splashing out on a £54,000 car and a £9,000 watch for his wife while he was bankrupt.
He had been Emiliano Sala’s agent before the doomed Cardiff City player died in a plane crash[/caption]
He had been doomed footballer Emiliano Sala’s agent before the doomed Cardiff City player died in a plane crash
McKay appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court accused of fraud under the Insolvency Act, and claimed he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by authorities.
The Scot was the agent for doomed fotballer Sala, 28, before the Argentine died in a plane crash en route from France to Cardiff in January this year.
McKay brokered the striker’s £15million move to Premier League club Cardiff City.
He denied two offences when he made a brief appearance at Manchester Magistrates’ Court today.
The defendant, who has represented a number of high-profile football stars, denied two charges under the Insolvency Act.
After entering his not guilty pleas the 10-minute hearing was adjourned for a pre-trial hearing next month.
Outside court McKay protested his innocence.
He said: “This is an ongoing persecution. That’s what this is all about.”
Earlier Andrew Evans, prosecuting, said the gifts amounted to £63,100 and the matter should not be dealt with at the magistrates’ court but at a higher court.
David Marsh, defending McKay, said the defendant would elect to be tried by a jury at the higher court.
McKay, of Craighead Road, Glasgow, was given unconditional bail until his next appearance at Manchester Crown Court on October 3.
He faces two charges that as a bankrupt he made a gift of property by spending £9,100 to buy a Rolex Date Just II watch for his wife in Leeds on December 14, 2014.
The second charge says a day later he spent £54,000 on a Jaguar XK5 for his wife in Doncaster.
At an earlier hearing he didn’t attend, McKay was warned through his solicitor he must attend court in person to face the charges.
The plane carrying Cardiff’s record-signing Sala to the Welsh capital was flying from former club Nantes, in Western France, when it vanished on January 21.
The wreckage was discovered by the AAIB on February 3 and robots subs were used to pull the body out of the 220ft-deep water “in as dignified a way as possible”.
An inquest opened and adjourned into Sala’s death confirmed he died from head and trunk injuries and had to be identified by his fingerprints.
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Sala was pulled from the wreckage after investigators discovered his body on the seabed of the English Channel on February 4.
Thousands of tearful mourners including Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, paid tribute to the late footballer in his hometown of Progreso, Argentina.
McKay has represented a number of other high-profile football stars as an agent, including Joey Barton and Celtic skipper Scott Brown.
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