US court clears Wembley of bribery

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The Independent Online

The gaming group Wembley, which used to own the football stadium, has been cleared of bribery charges in the United States. The former chief executive and another former director were also exonerated.

Of nine charges against Wembley's Lincoln Park subsidiary, a jury in Rhode Island acquitted it of three and was unable to reach a verdict on six. Nigel Potter, a former chief executive of the group, and Daniel Bucci, who ran the Lincoln Park business, were also cleared of one charge each and the jury was unable to reach verdicts on the remainder.

They were accused of trying to bribe lawyers to win the US resort additional licences for more slot machines. It is not yet known which charges the individuals were cleared of, but all parties denied any wrongdoing.

The company and the former directors have been on trial in Rhode Island for the past three weeks. Wembley's current chief executive, Mark Elliott, gave evidence in the trial. The company set aside $16m (£8.4m) for the costs of the trial.

The outcome will be a boost for Wembley, which this month reached agreement to sell its troubled Lincoln Park business for $339m in cash to BLB Investors, a consortium backed by the South African gambling magnate Sol Kerzner. It agreed to buy Lincoln Park after appearing to have secured the support of local politicians.

BLB wants to win a long-term revenue-sharing deal with the state authorities before the takeover goes ahead.