US seeks extradition of friend of Ken Bates

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The Independent Online

The Metropolitan Police have received a request to arrest Stanley Tollman, a friend of Ken Bates who is believed to have assisted the former Chelsea chairman in the original purchase of the football club. US investigators want to extradite him to face tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy charges.

The Metropolitan Police have received a request to arrest Stanley Tollman, a friend of Ken Bates who is believed to have assisted the former Chelsea chairman in the original purchase of the football club. US investigators want to extradite him to face tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy charges.

Mr Tollman, who is counted by US authorities as a fugitive from justice, is believed to be living in London. His wife, Beatrice, was charged earlier this month with tax evasion and his son, Brett, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and told to repay $3.5m (£1.9m) after being found guilty on similar charges.

Stanley Tollman and four former executives of Tollman-Hundley Hotels, a group which at its peak owned a chain of over 100 discount hotels, were charged last year with masterminding a scheme to defraud investors out of more than $100m in the 1990s.

Before the case could come to trial, Mr Tollman fled to the UK. But his associates - Monty Hundley, Sandford Friedman, James Cutler and Howard Zukerman - were found guilty of various fraud and conspiracy offences last month. They were sentenced to between five and 30 years in prison.

One of the companies used in the fraud was called Chelsea Acquisitions Limited. But despite Mr Tollman having been a non-executive director of Chelsea Football Club in the past, he has denied that the company had anything to do with the club. Mr Bates gave evidence by video link to this effect at the trial of Mr Tollman's four associates.

Scotland Yard's Extradition and International Assistance Unit has confirmed that a request for Mr Tollman's extradition has been received and "the wheels are in motion". Mr Tollman's lawyers say they will fight extradition and that he denies all charges brought against him.

The charges against his wife and son relate to another hotel chain, Red Carnation. US prosecutors allege that over $35m was funnelled through Channel Island bank accounts and the income was not declared in tax returns. Brett Tollman pleaded guilty to tax evasion last September but Beatrice Tollman is denying all charges.

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