Waterford owner Andy Pilley's fraud trial set for next week

The Blues take on Shels in a FAI Cup semi-final next week.
Waterford owner Andy Pilley's fraud trial set for next week

Waterford owner Andy Pilley at the RSC.

Waterford FC’s owner Andy Pilley is due to go on trial for fraud from next Monday, the same week his new club host Damien Duff’s Shelbourne in the FAI Cup semi-final.

On Thursday Mr Pilley, together with his sister Michelle Davidson and co-defendants Lee Qualter and Joel Chapman, sat together in the dock at Preston Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Knowles.

All four have denied all the allegations against them and failed in March to have the charges dismissed in court.

At the centre of the case is alleged mis-selling of energy supply contracts through Mr Pilley's, Business Energy Solutions (BES).

The offices of BES Utilities and Commercial Power were raided in July 2016.

At the pre-trial hearing, the quartet were informed that the process of selecting a jury would begin on Monday in Court Two of the old Sessions House in Lancaster Road.

The expectation is that jurors will be sworn in on Tuesday, at which point the trial would then proceed.

Mr Pilley, 51, from Thornton, is facing two counts of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors, one count of false representation and one count of being concerned with the retention of criminal property.

Ms Davidson, 48, of Holmefield Avenue, Cleveleys faces two counts of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors and one of being concerned with the retention of criminal property.

Mr Qualter, 51, also of Holmefield Avenue, Cleveleys is charged with one count of running a business with the intention of defrauding creditors.

And Mr Chapman, 37, of Kingston Road, Willerby, Yorkshire, faces two counts of fraud aiding false representation.

In a separate development, Mr Pilley has lodged a £10m damages claim against Chester Council’s Trading Standards team.

Mr Pilley completed his takeover of Waterford six weeks ago, adding the First Division outfit to his ownership portfolio.

Fleetwood Town is the highest-profile club of his stable, his investment forming the backbone to his local club’s ascent from the lower reaches of the non-league ladder to League One.

Last year, he took ownership of third division outfits in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, with the word Fleetwood featuring in both of their club names.

Although not on the same scale, he likens the strategy to the approach adopted by Manchester City’s Arab backers, the City Group.

Five straight wins have pushed Waterford into second place of the First Division and the Cup semi-final on Sunday week.

The Blues will enter the promotion playoff series once they conclude their final two league games of the mainstream campaign.

“We’re potentially in line for a double,” said Pilley in a club interview today, confirming his intention to attend Friday’s game against Treaty United and the semi-final, both at the RSC.

“I don’t want to get carried away but we’ve achieved great things so far this season, beating some established teams.

“We desperately want to get into the Premier Division and we’ll give it everything we’ve got.” Pilley’s trial is expected to last until December.

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