THE boxing promotor Barry Hughes has been fined £45,000 after appeal court judges quashed his 43-month jail sentence for mortgage fraud and money laundering.
The 35-year-old was jailed for three and a half years in March after pleading guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to illegally obtaining £1.2 million for two mortgages.
He was also convicted of laundering £150,000 and using some of the cash to buy a Rolex watch.
But at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday, judges Lord Carloway, Lord Brodie and Lord Philip decided to set aside Hughes’ jail sentence.
They did do so after hearing defence QC Gordon Jackson say that nobody lost any money as a consequence of his client’s actions.
Mr Jackson told the court that the jail sentence was not proportionate to the nature of the offence.
The judges agreed and ruled that the father-of-five should pay a fine instead.
As he left court, Hughes, who was accompanied by his wife Jacqueline, said the appeal court judges reached the right verdict.
Hugging his wife, he added: “I’m delighted by the decision of the appeal court today.
“It’s the right decision. I just want to now concentrate on looking forward and getting on with my life.”
Hughes, of Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, instructed his legal team to go to the Appeal Court after being sent to jail in March. He was allowed to leave jail temporarily after judges granted him interim liberation following a hearing earlier this year.
At the Glasgow Sheriff Court proceedings, Hughes pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £1,287,955 for two mortgages.
The businessman 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 house in Kilmacolm.
He claimed his wife made £160,000 from her business McDonald Interiors. The mortgages were then approved.
Hughes also admitted two laundering charges – for receiving £128,885 after selling a property and spending £30,000 on a Rolex watch.
The court heard that divorce papers lodged by Mrs Hughes in 2006 stated she was “financially dependent” on her husband. This meant that Hughes had obtained the money fraudulently.
Mrs Hughes – who was cleared of any wrongdoing at the Glasgow Sheriff Court proceedings – dropped the divorce actions in 2008. The pair have been together since then.
Yesterday, Mr Jackson told the court that his case was based on the legal definition of fraud.
He said that the offence was defined as when somebody suffered a loss as a consequence of a deliberate, wrongful action.
Mr Jackson said none of the parties involved suffered a monetary loss. He said the Hughes’ mortgages were never in arrears and were always paid on time.
He also said that the financial institutions had actually made hundreds of thousands of pounds in interest payments from the mortgages.
Lord Carloway said jail was not the correct sentence to impose. He added: “The appropriate penalty is the imposition of a fine.”
Hughes still faces more legal action. Prosecutors are taking him to court under proceeds of crime legislation.