Background: Midas touch of disgraced ex-Leeds director Simon Morris

SIMON MORRIS signed statements declaring that he held no assets anywhere in the world despite being the holder of six Swiss bank accounts.

Saturday, 3rd August 2013, 1:01 am
Former Leeds United Director Simon Morris

A bankruptcy trustee eventually learned that, in May 2008, Morris had transferred £727,979 into a Credit Suisse account from re-mortgaging his main house in Leeds.

This account also had £561,901 paid into it from the sale of another property. In February 2009 Morris deposited eight gold bars. At the time they were each worth US$31,000.

The court heard it is unclear how or when they were purchased. Sentencing Morris, Judge Brian Forster, QC, said: “You are a charismatic persons. You are a person of potential and you are driven by your ambitions. You became a successful businessman in Leeds and you became connected to Leeds United Football Club and at that time your success had almost, in every sense, been realised. Disaster awaited you. And unfortunately your dream transformed into a nightmare.” He added: “Following the collapse of your empire you had little.

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“It is clear to me that what you have done in this case is to try and hold on to as much as you could, probably for the purpose of trying to maintain a reasonable lifestyle for your family and, I suspect, in the hope that you would be able to start up a business in the future.”

Morris was been jailed for 18 months in September 2011 after being found guilty of a £100,000 blackmail plot of his ex-business partner Hedley Manton.

Morris sent his 21-stone 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.

The ex-Leeds Grammar School pupil made as he faced financial ruin when his £80m property empire was collapsing around him.

Morris will no longer face a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act despite his illegal activities.

The court heard it was deemed not to be in the public interest for the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue the matter.

Most of the money recovered would go to privately owned banks, who have their own means of pursuing Morris.

Simon Morris’s barrister, Christopher Knox, told the court: “The liquidators are satisfied that there is no pot of money that he is going to go back to at any stage.”