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Boxing boss Barry Hughes faces jail over fraud

Barry Hughes. Picture: Robert Perry

Barry Hughes. Picture: Robert Perry

BOXING tycoon Barry Hughes is facing jail after admitting mortgage fraud and his pregnant wife has walked free.

After more than two and a half years of court proceedings the 35-year-old pled guilty to fraudulently getting his hands on £1,287,955 for two mortgages.

Dad-of-four Hughes claimed his wife Jacqueline, 37, made £160,000 from her business McDonald Interiors – but divorce papers lodged by her in 2006 stated she was “financially dependent” on her husband.

Yesterday (Wed) at Glasgow Sheriff Court Hughes, from Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, admitted lying on mortgage applications about his wife’s income in January 2004 for one property in Bridge of Weir and in November 2006 for a second in Kilmacolm.

He also admitted two money laundering charges – for receiving £128,885 after selling the first property and spending £30,000 towards a Rolex watch.

Mrs Hughes’ not guilty pleas to the charges she faced were accepted. She kissed him before she left the dock.

Proceeds of crime papers were served on Hughes and a hearing will take place at a later date.

The court was told that in January 2004 Hughes applied for a self-certified mortgage in his wife’s name for £429,955 claiming that she was self-employed and owned McDonald Interiors.

Based on the information given to a mortgage broker the application was completed and granted.

Procurator fiscal depute Bernard Ablett told the court: “The lenders state that if they had known that the income details were false they would not have approved the loan request.”

The purchase of 5 Juniper Avenue, Bridge of Weir was finalised in March 2004.

Before buying the property at 3 The Avenue, Kilmacolm, Mrs Hughes began divorce proceedings and papers were lodged at the Court of Session.

Mr Ablett said: “The summons stated that the marriage had broken down irretrievably.

“It averred that Jacqueline Hughes had been financially dependant on Barry Hughes both prior to, and after, their marriage on August 10 2003.

“They also indicated that Jacqueline Hughes had not worked since the birth of their first child in 2000.”

This came after it was revealed Hughes had a fling with ex-Miss Scotland Michelle Watson.

It was reported in January 2008 that Mrs Hughes dropped the divorce proceedings for the sake of their two daughters.

The court was told that in November 2006 Hughes paid a deposit of £25,000 to reserve a plot – which became 3 The Avenue and was to be in his name.

After the date of entry was postponed when money wasn’t transferred, Hughes went to the previous mortgage broker and arranged for a loan to be taken out in his wife’s name.

In December that year, the missives were changed to her name, but the sale could not proceed because a contract had already been signed in his name.

A further mortgage application was made to the Bank of Scotland for £858,000.

It claimed Mrs Hughes was the 100 per cent owner of McDonald Interiors and in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 had earned between £160,000 and £224,000.

Hughes had his accountant send a letter providing details of his wife’s earnings for the years 2004 to 2006.

The court was told the letter was written solely on the basis of figures provided by Hughes.

Lenders again said that had they known the income details were false they would not have approved the loan request.

Mr Ablett added: “The total amount of loans obtained by the accused as a result of the false statements in the application forms amounts to £1,287,955.”

On October 16, 2007 the Bridge of Weir property was sold for £700,000 resulting in Hughes receiving £128,885 criminal property.

A week later £200,000 was transferred from their joint account to his personal account.

Mr Ablett continued: “The following day on October 24, 2007, Barry Hughes attended at Watches of Switzerland in the Argyll Arcade, Glasgow and via a card transaction paid £30,202 from his personal account towards the purchase of a Rolex watch.”

The court heard a number of sources revealed the true income of Mrs Hughes, including the divorce action.

A note in the records of Hughes’ accountants suggests that he told his accountants his wife did not work.

She did run a business called McDonald Interiors from 1998 which later changed to Star Design and bank records show it was in business until 2003.

Records from HMRC and DWP show Mrs Hughes was a flight attendant between 1995 and 1997 and earned a maximum of £6,840 per year and that she received income support between October 2000 and September 2003.

She had declared no income to HMRC from 2003 until August 2009, and between then and February 2010 received £25,000 of wages from working as an office clerk with a taxi company.

Hughes will return to the dock next month to learn his fate, when defence QC Gordon Jackson will give his plea in mitigation. Sheriff Alan Mackenzie continued bail.

In 2008, Hughes was fined £5000 for being caught in possession of a knife in One Up, a Glasgow nightclub on July 14, 2007, and agreed to donate a further £5,000 to charity.

He was spared jail or community service after offering to make the donation to Apex Scotland.

His lawyer pleaded with the sheriff to hand down a fine.

Hughes denied being in possession of the blade, claiming he knocked it from a friend’s hand following a fight.

But, he was found guilty after a sheriff accepted the account of police officers who insisted the businessman had been holding the knife.

The following year in 2009, Hughes was given a community payback order with 150 hours community service at the High Court in Glasgow, after brutally attacking Christopher Boyle in Byblos nightclub.

Hughes claimed that Mr Boyle punched him in the face inside the nightclub’s VIP room.

He and his friend, Jamie Bryce, along with a group of others, then chased Mr Boyle out of the area before the pair attacked him with a metal pole, hitting him on the face and body.

Mr Boyle was also punched, kicked and stamped on.

The court heard that as the victim tried to get up and run away, he was caught again by the group and stabbed in the face and stomach by another of Hughes’ friends, Allan Eadie.

Lord Brailsford told Hughes and Bryce he had reduced the sentence from 200 hours because they pleaded guilty.

 

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