When Russell King was sent behind bars yesterday, it was a subtle affair in the Royal Court, which spoke little of his backstory: a tale involving an investment bank, the manager of England’s football team, North Korea and Lord Voldemort.
Having pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud, the 60-year-old was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment at HMP La Moye.
But those offences only related to the “plunder” of his dead business partner’s estate, and company accounts to the tune of £750,000 – crimes that pale in comparison to allegations levelled against him by parties including England’s former manager, Sven Goran-Eriksson.
So bizarre was his tale, that he became the subject of a Panorama documentary released in 2011 entitled ‘The Billion Dollar Con Man’.
Video: King leaving court after being sentenced to six years behind bars yesterday.
His story stretches back to around 2008, when it is said that King began telling others that he was managing billions belonging to Bahraini royalty.
With this ‘authority’ behind him, the businessman managed to obtain nearly half of First London PLC’s shares – an investment bank that mere years later went into administration with debts totalling £8.7million.
The case, which involved the potential unauthorised transfer of shares, was referred to the Serious Fraud Office.
But this wasn’t the end of King’s high-profile dealings.
According to the BBC documentary, King used First London to enhance his credibility as he entered the world of football.
He acted as a leading negotiator and consultant during the purchase of Notts County FC, to which Middle Eastern investment that never materialised was allegedly promised. In the end, the club was left with debts totalling £7million.
Pictured: Former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson accused King of duping him.
Sven Goran-Eriksson was recruited as a director, later accompanying King on a trip to North Korea where he was apparently due to get the government to hand over its gold, coal and iron mining rights in exchange for billions of dollars from investors in Bahrain.
The former England Manager recalled in the Panorama episode: "I was in the palace and they were handing over to the North Korean government so-called shares. I asked them how much that was because at the same time we couldn’t pay the milk bill at Notts County and what they told me was not millions, it was billions of dollars. They used my name. At the end it became a big, big mistake."
In 2011, the Serious Fraud Office began investigating the alleged con.
But King always maintained he was always just a consultant. He was never a director, shareholder or beneficiary in any of the deals he was involved in – meaning his name was never on the paperwork.
In fact, it is claimed that he would even go so far as to refer to himself or sign off correspondence as ‘Lord Voldemort’.
Pictured: Bahrain, where King lived for some years and allegedly ran a magazine.
King has not faced court proceedings in the UK in relation to these allegations.
He was, however, hit was a travel embargo in Bahrain in 2010 after a plea from Jersey firm Close Finance, who at the time said they were pursuing him for £2million in outstanding loans. His assets were also frozen to the same amount.
It wasn’t the first time he had faced an asset freeze: Jersey’s Royal Court did so in 2008, when Close Finance believed him to be about to sell his house and leave the island.
Last year, he finally returned to Jersey, having been extradited back from the Philippines on a first-class flight that cost taxpayers nearly £20,000. At the time, officials said it was because he had to lie flat due to his health conditions.
Pictured: Russell King as he entered Jersey's Royal Court in 2018, and a selection of press clippings about him.
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