RUGBY star Kenny Logan has told a court he was unwittingly taken in by the fantasy life of a multimillion-pound fraudster who was a passionate rugby fan.
Gerald Porter, 51, cheated his firm, Greenfield Property Management Ltd, out of millions of pounds to lead a luxury lifestyle with his wife, Jacqui, jurors heard. He spent part of the cash on the Wasps rugby union side.
Mr Logan, a former Scottish international and Wasps winger, told London’s Southwark Crown Court yesterday he believed that Porter was a property developer who was “happily spending money and I knew no reason to believe he was dodgy”.
Porter was well-known in the world of rugby and “he had the fast cars and consistently spent money for years,” he said.
Mr Logan, the husband of BBC sports presenter Gabby Logan, was giving evidence in the trial of Jacqui Porter, 40, from Ruislip, west London, who denies a single count of concealing or converting proceeds of crime. She denies any knowledge of her husband’s fraud.
The jury was told Mr Logan recalled that Porter had been “very well known at Wasps and was the go-to man when it came to sponsorship”.
David Aaronberg, defending, told Mr Logan: “You, like a number of other people, were completely had by Mr Porter.”
Mr Logan, 42, replied: “This man was extremely plausible.”
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Porter donated £100,000 of Greenfield cash to championship side London Scottish while the west London-based club were struggling financially and in the fourth tier of the English rugby league.
Prosecutor William Boyce QC took Mr Logan through a July 2011 police statement he made, in which he described Porter as “very likeable” and said he was passionate about rugby.
Mr Logan had noted: “He always drove expensive vehicles and was often seen around at functions in his Bentley which changed to a Land Rover Sport. He would also think nothing of hiring helicopters to fly people to events.”
Porter put £100,000 into a joint venture in the London Scottish club which also included Mr Logan. Porter arranged for officials at London Wasps to get a Mercedes but this sparked confusion when a coach left and tried to return the luxury car, as no-one knew about the arrangement.
Porter sponsored an end-of-season dinner which Mr Logan believed would have cost about £15,000. He also recalled that Porter had paid £5,816 for a table at a dinner which he never used.
Mr Logan recalled: “I was also in his company at restaurants where he would purchase the top wines. It was the top restaurants such as Claridge’s in
He described Porter as “always extremely generous and very likeable” but said they were not good friends.
On Porter’s advice, Mr Logan said he hired a man to carry out some building work at his home but later sacked him because the quality of the work was not good enough.
Mr Logan said he also felt a little guilty because he trusted Porter enough to introduce him to his mother-in-law.
Mr Logan recalled that in early 2010, Porter told him that he was “in trouble” and that he had stolen money. Mr Logan told him to leave his home and had not seen him since. He added: “I feel entirely let down by Mr Porter. I acted in good faith in everything that I did with him.”
He said that he became suspicious of him only because he seemed to prefer entertaining the same people all the time, which was not the habit of someone who was involved in sponsorship.
Mr Logan recalled later hearing people call him Dr Porter “although I suspect that this was part of his life of fantasy which we were all entangled in”.
The case continues.
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