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Ponzi scammer Richard Rufus could lose football job

SCAMMED ASSOCIATES: Richard Rufus

DISGRACED FORMER Premier League defender Richard Rufus is at risk of being axed from Charlton Athletic after being found to have masterminded a multi-million-pound money scam.

According to The Telgraph, Rufus will be asked to resign or face being fired as academy coach and ambassador for Charlton Athletic Community Trust less than a week after a High Court judge ruled he conned victims out of almost £9m and pocketed more than £3m from a £16m “Ponzi” scheme.

The 40-year-old, once voted Charlton’s greatest ever defender, was branded a “rogue” and a “dishonest character” for orchestrating a scam involving almost 100 unsuspecting investors – including family, friends and churches he attended.

Rufus, of Lewisham, southeast London, could also face criminal charges after being hit with a 15-year bankruptcy restriction order by Registrar Clive Jones in a civil trial last week.

The Insolvency Service described the case as “one of the worst” it had encountered, comparing it to a £32m scam that in 2012 saw a City trader jailed for 13 years.

The Financial Conduct Authority refused to comment on whether criminal action was being pursued against Rufus, who failed to turn up to court last week.

The football legend, who represented himself at an earlier hearing, previously stated that “God is my only judge”.

In his absence, the ex-England Under-21 international and self-styled born-again Christian was found to have illegally used other people’s money for currency exchange trading and to have fraudulently paid them a return via further deposits before the scheme collapsed, leaving up to 93 investors with “disastrous” losses.

“He has, throughout this period, committed a criminal offence,” Registrar Jones said.

Amongst his alleged debtors is Nigerian pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) to whom he owes a rumoured £5 million.

Rufus, a former church member, joined the church after becoming a ‘born-again’ Christian and was entrusted to invest the money on its behalf.

A separate probe into the case by Church Commissioners is already underway.

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