Ex-fraudster Ramsden makes stock market return

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The Independent Online

Terry Ramsden, once one of Britain's wealthiest men, a legendary financier, gambler, racehorse owner and convicted fraudster, is making a stock market come back through an AIM-listed cash shell Leisureplay.

Terry Ramsden, once one of Britain's wealthiest men, a legendary financier, gambler, racehorse owner and convicted fraudster, is making a stock market come back through an AIM-listed cash shell Leisureplay.

Mr Ramsden is to take an 11 per cent stake in Leisureplay, soon to be renamed Caplay. The board wants to bring in a number of new investors and plans to raise £2.4m through the issue of 80 million new shares at 3p each.

Mr Ramsden was one of the most flamboyant characters in the City in the 1980s. The former chairman of Walsall FC made his fortune as an international bond trader, but went bankrupt with debts of £25m in 1992. He was charged with fraud over his collapsed securities company and escaped with a two-year suspended sentence in 1994. He later went to prison in 1998 on another charge of concealing money from his creditors.

His reputation as a gambler is also built on his love of horse racing, and he is known for placing enormous bets of as much as £1m at a time. At one point he owned 100 thoroughbreds and racked up gambling debts of £60m. He is currently enjoying some success on the turf, through his share in Grey Swallow, the horse that won this year's Irish Derby.

Although the board wants two of its new investors to take a place on the board, Mr Ramsden does not plan to take a seat. He will, however, be granted options. Leisureplay was formerly known as Murray Financial, a failed vehicle set up by Ken Murray to convert building societies into banks in the 1990s. It was acquired last year by Resurge, the corporate takeover vehicle run by Jonathan Rowland, leading to an acrimonious split with Mr Murray who was forced out of the company. He is still battling with the board, claiming to have been wrongfully sacked and is demanding an £850,000 payoff.

Resurge has now sold out of the business and the company wants to switch its attentions to the financial markets. Existing Leisureplay investors will be asked to sub-divide their shares, currently worth 5p, to 1p and one deferred share of 4p each. An extraordinary general meeting will take place on 26 July.

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